Inquiring Minds Want to Know - Now! 3&4

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Date Submitted: 11/22/2014 09:23 AM

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Sampling is a method of qualitative research that “examines a portion of the target population, and the portion must be carefully selected to represent that population” (Cooper & Schindler, 2014, p.84). Qualitative research consists predominantly of nonprobability sampling, defined as arbitrary and subjective, which consists of several sampling types. Some of these types include purposive sampling, snowball sampling, and convenience sampling. Purposive sampling is where researchers arbitrarily choose sample participants for “unique characteristics or their experiences, attitudes, or perceptions” (Cooper & Schindler, 2014, p.152). When participants of a sample refer researchers to other individuals who have similar characteristics it is called snowball sampling. Convenience sampling is when researchers select individuals readily available, or convenient to the researcher, to participate.

Sampling has several compelling reasons for its use including lower costs, greater result accuracy, greater data collection speed, and availability of population elements to sample (Cooper & Schindler, 2014). Sampling is considerably less expensive than conducting a census, making it a more appealing alternative to many organizations. Samples are also more accurate then conducting a census due to the possibility of better interviewing, better supervision, better processing and more thorough investigation of erroneous information (Cooper & Schindler, 2014). Because sampling only requires a small number of participants in contrast to a census it is able to produce results quicker which in turns allows the organization to utilize the information earlier than it otherwise would have been able to.

Cooper and Schindler (2014) list 5 steps in the sampling design process as follows (p.344):

1. What is the target population?

2. What are the parameters of interest?

3. What is the sampling frame?

4. What is the appropriate sampling method?

5. What size sample is needed?

Once these...