The efficiency of systematic sampling in stereology and its prediction

J Microsc. 1987 Sep;147(Pt 3):229-63. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2818.1987.tb02837.x.


The superior efficiency of systematic sampling at all levels in stereological studies is emphasized and various commonly used ways of implementing it are briefly described. Summarizing recent theoretical and experimental studies a set of very simple estimators of efficiency are presented and illustrated with a variety of biological examples. In particular, a nomogram for predicting the necessary number of points when performing point counting is provided. The very efficient and simple unbiased estimator of the volume of an arbitrary object based on Cavalieri's principle is dealt with in some detail. The efficiency of the systematic fractionating of an object is also illustrated.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Mathematics
  • Microscopy, Electron / methods*
  • Models, Biological*
  • Organ Size*