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Purpose: The purpose of this standard is to ensure that statistically sound frames are designed and samples are selected to meet the objectives of the survey.
Scope: The Census Bureau's statistical quality standards apply to all information products released by the Census Bureau and the activities that generate those products, including products released to the public, sponsors, joint partners, or other customers. All Census Bureau employees and Special Sworn Status individuals must comply with these standards; this includes contractors and other individuals who receive Census Bureau funding to develop and release Census Bureau information products.
In particular, this standard applies to the design and selection of statistically sound samples used to produce estimates or make inferences. This standard covers:
In addition to the global exclusions listed in the Preface, this standard does not apply to:
Key Terms: Cluster, coverage, cut-off samples, estimate, estimation, frame, housing unit, peer review, precision, primary sampling unit (PSU), probability of selection, probability sampling, sample design, sample size, sampling frame, sampling weights, sequential sampling, strata, stratification, systematic sampling, target population, unduplication, variance, and weights.
Requirement A3-1: Throughout all processes associated with frame development and sample design, unauthorized release of protected information or administratively restricted information must be prevented by following federal laws (e.g., Title 13, Title 15, and Title 26), Census Bureau policies (e.g., Data Stewardship Policies), and additional provisions governing the use of the data (e.g., as may be specified in a memorandum of understanding or data-use agreement). (See Statistical Quality Standard S1, Protecting Confidentiality.)
Requirement A3–2: A plan must be developed that addresses:
Requirement A3-3: Sampling frames that meet the data collection objectives must be developed using statistically sound methods.
Examples of frame development activities include:
Requirement A3–4: The sample design must be developed to meet the objectives of the survey, using statistically sound methods. The size and design of the sample must reflect the level of detail needed in tabulations and other information products and the precision required of key estimates. Any use of nonprobability sampling methods (e.g., cut–off) must be justified statistically.
Examples of sample design activities include:
Requirement A3-5: Sampling frames must be implemented and samples selected to ensure high quality data.
Sub–Requirement A3–5.1: Specifications and procedures for creating frames and selecting samples, based on the statistical requirements, must be developed and implemented.
Examples of issues that specifications and procedures might address include:
Sub–Requirement A3–5.2: Systems and procedures must be verified and tested to ensure all components function as intended.
Examples of verification and testing activities include:
Sub–Requirement A3–5.3: Systems and procedures must be developed and implemented to monitor and evaluate the accuracy of the frame development and sample selection operations and to take corrective action if problems are identified.
Examples of activities to monitor and evaluate the accuracy include:
Requirement A3–6: Documentation needed to replicate and evaluate frame development and sample design operations must be produced. The documentation must be retained, consistent with applicable policies and data–use agreements, and must be made available to Census Bureau employees who need it to carry out their work.(See Statistical Quality Standard S2, Managing Data and Documents.)
Examples of documentation include: