Sampling

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  • Sampling
    • Samples
      • 'sample' = smaller part of the whole group (research population) being studied.
      • Samples are a very small proportion to the whole group being investigated.
        • Limited by time and money factors.
    • Research Population
      • Everyone in the group being studied.
    • Sampling Frames
      • 'sampling frame' = full list of all those who make up the research population.
      • Examples used in sociological research - telephone directory, electoral register etc.
      • But they may be out of date, may not identify ethnicity etc and may not include everyone in target pop.
    • Representativeness & Generalisations
      • If the sample does share the same characteristics as the whole group then generalisations can be made.
      • If the sample does not reflect the social make up of the whole population then it will not be representative.
      • Positivists place a lot of emphasis on the need for a representative sample - want to make broad, general statements about society.
      • Interpretivists place less emphasis - usually study smaller groups to identify meanings.
      • Problems in creating a rep. sample.
        • May not know the social characteristics of the research pop
        • May have limited info about research subjects.
        • A low response rate may reduce representativeness
        • Finding respondents to fit all the characteristics can be difficult
    • Types of samples
      • Random Sample - every member of the pop has equal chance of being selected.
        • Systematic Random - making one random choice then selecting on systematic basis (every 10th etc).
        • Stratified Random - common characteristic - may be stratified into males/female, ages or classes. Random samples are then chosen from the different categories into which the population has been sub-divided.
          • Evaluation of Random - can be repeated and a similar group will emerge, likely to be representative so generalisations can be made.
      • Non-Random
        • Opportunity - who is there at the time.
        • Volunteer - those who volunteer to take part.
        • Pupposive - researcher seeks out those who meet the needs of the project.
        • Snowball - initial sample asked to name others who fit criteria.
        • Quota - pop divided into categories and the researcher has a certain number to select.
        • Evaluation of Non-Random - useful when there isn't a sampling frame or a group is difficult to reach. But unlikely to be representativene.
  • Problems in creating a rep. sample.
    • May not know the social characteristics of the research pop
    • May have limited info about research subjects.
    • A low response rate may reduce representativeness
    • Finding respondents to fit all the characteristics can be difficult

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