Probability Sample Files (PSF)

The PSF is a subset of eHRAF World Cultures and a special kind of random sample called a stratified random sample. For the PSF sample the world was divided into 60 culture areas (strata) and one case from each area was randomly chosen from a list of societies that met certain data quality control criteria (such as whether one of the ethnographers stayed for more than a year and claimed to be fluent in the native language).

All 60 of the PSF cases are included in the paper, microfiche, and online versions of the HRAF Collection of Ethnography. For the rules used in selecting the sample cases, see Naroll, Raoul. 1967. The proposed HRAF Probability Sample. Behavior Science Notes (now Cross-Cultural Research) 2: 70-80.

The 60 culture sample too large for your purposes? Randomly select a smaller number of societies (at least 20 are recommended).

In eHRAF World Cultures a search query can be refined by sample and subsistence type.  This is done after a search in the culture results page.

This table shows all the cultures from the Probability Sample File covered in the eHRAF World Cultures database:

1AfricaSouthern AfricaLoziFQ09other subsistence combinations
3AfricaNorthern AfricaShluhMW11intensive agriculturalists
4Middle America and the CaribbeanMaya AreaTzeltalNV09horticulturalists
5AfricaCentral AfricaMbutiFO04hunter-gatherers
6AsiaSouth AsiaAndamansAZ02hunter-gatherers
7South AmericaCentral AndesAymaraSF05horticulturalists
8EuropeBritish IslesHighland ScotsES10other subsistence combinations
9South AmericaAmazon and OrinocoYanoamaSQ18horticulturalists
10AsiaSoutheast AsiaIbanOC06horticulturalists
12AsiaEast AsiaTaiwan HokkienAD05intensive agriculturalists
14AsiaNorth AsiaChukcheeRY02pastoralists
15South AmericaSouthern South AmericaOnaSH04hunter-gatherers
16Middle EastMiddle EastKurdsMA11pastoralists
17AsiaSouth AsiaKhasiAR07other subsistence combinations
18AfricaEastern AfricaMaasaiFL12pastoralists
19South AmericaEastern South AmericaBororoSP08hunter-gatherers
20North AmericaEastern WoodlandsIroquoisNM09horticulturalists
22North AmericaArctic and SubarcticCopper InuitND08hunter-gatherers
23OceaniaPolynesiaLau FijiansOQ06other subsistence combinations
24AsiaSoutheast AsiaEastern TorajaOG11horticulturalists
25AfricaSouthern AfricaBembaFQ05horticulturalists
26North AmericaNorthwest Coast and CaliforniaTlingitNA12hunter-gatherers
27AsiaSouth AsiaSinhaleseAX04intensive agriculturalists
28South AmericaNorthwestern South AmericaKogiSC07horticulturalists
29AfricaWestern AfricaHausaMS12other subsistence combinations
30Middle America and the CaribbeanNorthern MexicoTarahumaraNU33agro-pastoralists
31AfricaEastern AfricaSomaliMO04pastoralists
32South AmericaSouthern South AmericaMatacoSI07primarily hunter-gatherers
33EuropeSoutheastern EuropeSerbsEF06intensive agriculturalists
34AsiaNorth AsiaYakutRV02other subsistence combinations
35North AmericaPlains and PlateauPawneeNQ18primarily hunter-gatherers
36AfricaWestern AfricaKanuriMS14intensive agriculturalists
37AfricaEastern AfricaAmharaMP05intensive agriculturalists
38AfricaWestern AfricaTivFF57horticulturalists
39AsiaSouth AsiaSantalAW42intensive agriculturalists
40AfricaEastern AfricaGandaFK07intensive agriculturalists
41AsiaEast AsiaKoreaAA01intensive agriculturalists
42North AmericaPlains and PlateauKlamathNR10hunter-gatherers
43OceaniaMelanesiaKapaukuOJ29intensive agriculturalists
44South AmericaEastern South AmericaGuaraníSM04other subsistence combinations
45South AmericaAmazon and OrinocoTukanoSQ19other subsistence combinations
46AfricaCentral AfricaAzandeFO07horticulturalists
47North AmericaPlains and PlateauBlackfootNF06hunter-gatherers
48AsiaSouth AsiaGaroAR05horticulturalists
49South AmericaEastern South AmericaBahia BraziliansSO11intensive agriculturalists
50Middle America and the CaribbeanCentral AmericaKunaSB05horticulturalists
51AfricaWestern AfricaWolofMS30horticulturalists
52AfricaNorthern AfricaLibyan BedouinMT09pastoralists
53AsiaSoutheast AsiaIfugaoOA19intensive agriculturalists
54OceaniaMicronesiaChuukOR19other subsistence combinations
55South AmericaAmazon and OrinocoSaramakaSR15other subsistence combinations
56AfricaWestern AfricaAkanFE12horticulturalists
57North AmericaArctic and SubarcticOjibwaNG06hunter-gatherers
58AfricaWestern AfricaDogonFA16intensive agriculturalists
59AsiaSoutheast AsiaCentral ThaiAO07intensive agriculturalists
60North AmericaSouthwest and BasinHopiNT09intensive agriculturalists

Related Links

Excel format: A comprehensive list of the 60 culture names from the Probability Sample File (PSF) currently included in the eHRAF World Cultures database. The excel format also includes sequence and installment numbers, OWC codes, region coverage (including subregions), date coverage (beginning and ending dates for cultural materials), subsistence and the SRS sample type. Some fields with no information available are left blank. The sequence numbers for each culture name make the excel table useful for generating a random sample from eHRAF. Visit the Cross-Cultural Research section to learn more about random sampling.

Subsistence Types in eHRAF: Classification of subsistence types in eHRAF and how to refine a search by subsistence type in eHRAF. This methodology also applies to refining a search by sample type.

Reference list for coverage in eHRAF [PDF; 1MB]

Reference list for coverage in eHRAF [PDF; 1MB]