In general, most qualitative research has an aim of purposive or purposeful sampling; that is, explicitly selecting samples, who it is intended will generate appropriate data. It has been suggested that the overall aim of purposive, as opposed to probability, sampling is to include information-rich cases for in-depth study…
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Therefore, the discussions and observations are structured loosely, thus allowing for the expression of a "full range of beliefs, feelings, and behaviours" (Polit and Beck, 2007, 57). However, in contrast to quantitative studies, analysis and interpretation are ongoing and concurrent activities that will continue to guide choices about the next sample with concurrent modifications of the types of questions or necessary observations. Thus with the goal of clustering together of related types of narrative information into a coherent scheme of time consuming and intensive data analysis, the sample needs to be determined.
The aim of most qualitative studies is to discover meaning and to uncover multiple realities, and so generalizability is not a guiding criterion as in quantitative studies. Thus probability sampling is not necessary. Randomly selected population may not necessarily be good informants, and thus the sampling method must be one of nonprobability methods. These include: extreme or deviant case sampling, typical case sampling, and snowball sampling (Cochran, 1977, 13-47). This means, there must be a purpose for any particular sampling method. In probability sampling, elements are selected by nonrandom methods. ...
These are convenience, quota, and purposive (Polit and Beck, 2007, 292).
A convenience sample can be defined as a sample in which research subjects are recruited based on their ease of availability, or in other words, the sample comprises of the most conveniently available subjects. Essentially, individuals who are the most ready, willing, and able to participate in the study are the ones who are selected to participate. In qualitative research, it may be helpful to use a convenience sample to test the appropriateness of interview questions. This is an inexpensive and quick way to test the design of the study by approaching an interested group of people first before embarking on a larger, longer, and more expensive study (Diekmann & Smith, 1989, 418-430). The main problem with such sampling is that the available subjects might be atypical of the population of interest with regard to critical variables. It has been argued that convenience samples can lack transferability or external validity in qualitative research. Thus although this is simple and more cost-effective, it is important to remember that the participants recruited are not necessarily reflective of the population being studied, and they may not necessarily be reflective of all view points, and thus the research may be criticized to be biased (Polit and Beck, 2007, 292).
Quota Sampling (Stratified Purposeful)
This is also known as quota sampling in which the researcher identifies population strata and also determines the number of participants needed from each stratum. To be able to determine this, the information about the population characteristics is necessary, since it should represent diverse segments preferable in a representative
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