When a probability sample is selected through use of a systematic random sampling design, a random start is chosen from a collection of consecutive integers that will ensure an adequate sample size is obtained. The length of the string of consecutive integers is commonly referred to as the sampling interval.

If the size of the population or universe is N and n is the size of the sample, then the integer that is at least as large as the number N/n is called the sampling interval (often denoted by k). Used in conjunction with systematic sampling, the sampling interval partitions the universe into n zones, or strata, each consisting of k units. In general, systematic sampling is operationalized by selecting a random start between 1 ...

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