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Your manager has given you an Excel file that contains the names of the company’s 500 employees and has asked you to sample 50 employees from the list. You decide to take your sample as follows. First, you assign a random number to each employee using Excel’s random number function Rand(). Because the random number is volatile (it recalculates itself whenever you modify the file), you freeze the random numbers using the Copy—Paste Special—Values feature. You then sort by the random numbers in ascending order. Finally, you take the first 50 sorted employees as your sample. Does this approach constitute a statistical or a nonstatistical sample?
Products are located by rack number, shelf letter, and section number. For example, breakfast cereal is located at 43-A-52 (rack 43, shelf A, section 52). Each week, employees perform an inventory for a sample of products. Certain products are selected and counted. The actual count is compared to the book count (the quantity in the records that should be in stock). To simplify things, assume that the company has selected breakfast cereals to inventory. Also for simplicity’s sake, suppose the cereals occupy racks 1 through 5.
a. Assume that you plan to use simple random sampling to select the sample. Use Excel to determine the sections on each of the five racks to be sampled.
b. Assume that you wish to use cluster random sampling to select the sample. Discuss the steps you would take to carry out the sampling.
c. In this case, why might cluster sampling be preferred over simple random sampling? Discuss.