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Kandace J. Landreneau, RN, PhD, CCTC, Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, University of California-San Francisco, Walnut Creek, CA, Research Committee Member
What is a sample?
A sample is a subset of your population by which you select to be participants in your study.
What is sampling?
Sampling is simply stated as selecting a portion of the population, in your research area, which will be a representation of the whole population.
What are sampling strategies?
The strategy is the plan you set forth to be sure that the sample you use in your research study represents the population from which you drew your sample. For example, if your study included the living donors then the strategy you chose to enter them would help support that they are representative of all living donors.
- Probability sampling is a mechanism for reducing bias in the selection of samples.
- Ensure you become familiar with key technical terms in the literature on sampling such as: representative sample; random sample; non-response; population; sampling error; etc.
- Randomly selected samples are important because they permit generalizations to the population and because they have certain known qualities.
- Sampling error decreases as sample size increases.
- Quota samples can provide reasonable alternatives to random samples; but they suffer from some deficiencies.
- Convenience samples may provide interesting data, but it is crucial to be aware of their limitations in terms of generalizability.
- Sampling and sampling-related error are just two sources of error in social survey research.
- Quantitative research can be characterized as a linear series of steps moving from theory to conclusion, but the process described is an ideal type from which there are many departures.
- The measurement process entails the search for indicators.
- Establishing the reliability and validity of measures is important for assessing their quality.
- Can be characterized as exhibiting certain preoccupations, the most central of which are: measurement, causality; generalization; and replication.
- It has been subjected to many criticisms by qualitative researchers. These criticisms tend to revolve around the view that a natural science model is inappropriate for studying the social world.
Questions for Review:
- Quantitative and qualitative research constitute different approaches to social investigation and carry with them important epistemological and ontological consideration.
- Theory can be depicted as something that precedes research (as in quantitative research) or as something that emerges out of it (as in qualitative research).
- Epistemological considerations loom large in considerations of research strategy. To a large extent, these revolve around the desirability of employing a natural science model (and in particular positivism) versus interpretivism.
- Ontological considerations, concerning objectivism versus constructionism, also constitute important dimensions of the quantitative/qualitative contrast.
- Value may impinge on the research process at different times.
- Practical considerations in decisions about research methods are also important factors.
- Feminist researchers have tended to prefer a qualitative approach, though there is some evidence of a change of viewpoint in this regard.