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Sampling and Generalizability

Sampling and Generalizability

Sampling is a process through which researchers select representatives from a larger target group to facilitate judgments or conclusions regarding the entire group. Sampling can either be probability or non-probability. Probability sampling involves simple, systematic, stratified, and cluster methods. The non-probability methods include convenience, judgment, quota, and snowball.

The simple random sampling method gives all members an equal chance of selection. The systematic method involves ordering all population members and choosing based positions through skip intervals. The stratified method involves the division of the population into different groups and selection of members from these classifications. Clustered sampling uses subgroups as opposed to individuals (Taherdoost, 2016). After randomly dividing the entire population into subgroups (clusters), these are used for the study. For instance, one can study cancer patients as groups instead of individuals.

Convenience sampling involves subjects who are available and willing to participate. However, the risk of bias is high when using the method. Quota sampling relies upon specific aspects of a population and chooses qualified individuals who possess these aspects. For instance, doctors or engineers can make up a sample related to their profession. Judgment sampling is subjective and is based on the belief that certain subjects meet a study’s qualifications. Snowball sampling has other subjects nominate new ones, especially when dealing with difficult-to-find population members (Hansana, 2011). For instance, when conducting a study that involves space astronomers, it is easier to use the snowball method.

Generalizability is making conclusions based on observations from the past. Generalizability requires a representative sample. In health care, generalizability includes the conclusion that smoking can lead to lung cancer based on results of past studies (Institute for Work & Health, 2006). The consistency of the results that explored the role of smoking in lung cancer validates this generalization.


Hansana, V. (2011). Sampling Theory and methods.

Institute for Work & Health. (2006). Generalizability.

Taherdoost, H. (2016). Sampling Methods in Research Methodology; How to Choose a Sampling Technique for Research. International Journal of Academic Research in Management, 5(2), 18-27


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Sampling and Generalizability

Describe sampling theory and provide examples to illustrate your definition. Discuss generalizability as it applies to nursing research.

Sampling and Generalizability

Sampling and Generalizability

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