Scientific Essay, 2012
The Methodology of Sampling and Purposive Sampling
By Arghya Ray
This paper is primarily based on literature research and it is divided among five parts, which are: (1) Introduction (2) The Approach to Sampling (3) Purposive Sampling (4) Purposive Sampling and Its Holistic Applicability (5) Conclusion. The discussions are aimed at explaining the necessity of sampling in general and purposive sampling in particular. The paper also attempts to homogenise the various management studies fields and scenarios.
Even for the most novice researcher, sampling remains a very crucial consideration from the beginning of his career. Why should we think about sampling? Sampling becomes unavoidable because it is practically impossible to achieve a description of a complete populace, whose numbers may be in hundreds and thousands or millions. Imagine that one has to find out the situation of the AIDS victims in RSA. Can he/she reach out all of them individually? Or interview each and every patient? Else, let’s consider the case of Greece in the year 2011. Was it possible for the analysts to interview each and every trade union member of the country who agitated the financial reforms? However, a researcher cannot do away with these questions since hundred percent data is practically impossible to obtain. Hence the researchers must apply sampling. In this paper, the debacle of sampling will be looked into in the light of the methodology of purposive sampling.
The Approach to Sampling
Sampling is ever more becoming a decisive consideration in the milieu of research and analysis. “Sampling is a very complex issue in qualitative research as there are many variations of qualitative sampling described in the literature.” (Coyne, 1997, p. 623) Even a professional or researcher may be puzzled, sampling types may overlie, and problems concerning terminology may produce serious inconsistency. In the coding and collection stages of research, persons would explain their lived experiences, which can be used to congregate appropriate data in the course of the research. A targeted, purposeful approach may solve many of the common problems in research, and particularly in survey and sampling based research.
Purposive sampling is a method of non-probability sampling. It is an outstanding tool for research in phenomenology. For several helpful studies and much qualitative research-work, purposive sampling is desirable in any of a number of forms. “In purposive sampling, the researcher selects sampling units based on his or her judgement of what units will facilitate an investigation.” (Adler & Clark, 2008, p. 121)
All through purposive sampling the elements are chosen for a precise purpose generally due to the very unique placements of the trial elements. The purposive sampling may engross studying the entire population of a number of limited groups or a division of a given populace (Engel & Schutt, 2009). In purposive sampling, lesser amount of investment is needed but the whole process is highly effective.
Purposive Sampling and Its Holistic Applicability
There are two major aspects of the requirements concerning a sampling scheme.
The first kind of problem arises when the population is vast but the means of access are limited. The People’s Republic of China can be considered as a classic example of such difficulties. Since the media in the country is almost exclusively controlled by the state, variable opinions cannot be found out for surveying and/or analysis. Moreover, most of the groups that claim they are independent are not a part of the Chinese mainstream society; most of them are in exile or politically biased. Hence, selective and concise sampling becomes almost the only reliable research method in such environments.
The second kind of problem arises when the probable sample frequency is almost microscopic relative to the general population. For example, rare genetic diseases are very difficult research subjects. Non-Paraneoplastic Limbic Encephalitis is such kind of disease, and patients known to have this disease are only a few hundreds in number all over the world.
In these situations, targeted and authentic analyses are extremely crucial and without proper sampling this cannot be achieved. So what should be the theory behind the sampling process to be adopted to accomplish research methodologies during such difficult research project? The theory may constructed on the basis of purposeful and specific retrieval of information, which can be achieved by the means of restricted but intelligently targeted collection of data. Hence the methodology of purposive sampling should be applied to achieve optimum results and avoid the problem of theoretical saturation.
If we study the work of Rudolph et al (2008) regarding the construction of
Anticholinergic Risk Scale, we will find that their sampling method has been very similar to purposive sampling. Anticholinergic Risk is a rare drug induced risk which affects older adults. Although this study addresses a very small number of patients, its general implications in the medical field of pharmacology and geriatric care are of great importance.
And this is the reason that purposive sampling is a very useful methodology. Application of this sampling method can test the researcher himself/herself in applying the theories of statistical surveying and related analysis. Purposive sampling is poised to emerge as a very appropriate solution to the general debacles of sampling in research and also it will probably solve several ethical issues by restricted the numbers of actual participants in the research process. Scope of protection of data is also much better and practical.
Adler, E., & Clark, R. (2008). How It's Done: An Introduction to Social Research. Mason: Cengage Learning.
Bloor, M., & Wood, F. (2006). Keywords in Qualitative Methods. Thousand Oaks: SAGE.
Coyne, I. (1997). Sampling in qualitative research: Purposeful and theoretical sampling; merging or clear boundaries? Journal of Advanced Nursing, 26 (3), 623-630.
Engel, R., & Schutt, R. (2009). Fundamentals of Social Work Research. Thousand Oaks: SAGE.
Rudolph, J.L., Salow, M.J., Angelini, M.C. & McGinchey, R.E. (2008). The
Anticholinergic Risk Scale and anticholinergic adverse effects in older patients, Arch Intern Med, 168 (5), 508-513.
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