Purposive sampling is a non-probability sampling technique used with both qualitative and quantitative research techniques. Research students mostly use it as an effective tool while studying a specific cultural domain with proficient experts. Here the researchers rely on their own judgment when choosing the population members to participate in their surveys. That is why this sampling technique is also known as judgmental, selective, or subjective sampling. Here you need to have:
1. Prior knowledge about the purpose of your study.
2. You can select or approach eligible participants for the survey.
3. You can hold the survey Online to select a particular set of people who match the desired profile.
4. Focus on the sampling techniques where the units that are investigated are based on the judgment of the researcher.
What is Purposive Sampling?
Purposive sampling is a group of various non-probability sampling techniques that depend on the researcher’s discernment to select the units such as people, organizations, cases, events, pieces of data, etc., that are studied. The amount of sample is smaller in comparison to probability sampling techniques. Unlike probability sampling techniques, purposive sampling does not take arbitrary units from a population to create a sample report to generalize information like statistical inferences. It is the general intent of a quantitative research design.
What is the purpose of Purposive Sampling?
The purpose or primary goal of purposive sampling is:
- To focus on particular characteristics of a population that are of interest.
- Purposive sampling enables the best research method to examine and discover the answer to your research question.
- It enables the researchers to gather a lot of information out of the data that they have collected.
- Purposive sampling allows researchers to describe the significant impact their findings have on their population.
- The purpose of the method varies depending on the type of purposing sampling techniques that are used. E.g. in the case of homogeneous sampling, the researcher needs to select the units focusing on their similar characteristics. Or in the case of exploratory or qualitative research, one can use critical case sampling to assess whether the phenomenon of interest exists or whether it is worth researching along with other fundamental analyses.
Types of Purposive Sampling
Purposive sampling has a wide range of techniques that researchers use to collect information. Several subtypes of purposive sampling are:
- Maximum Variation Sampling
It is used to collect a wide range of participants with different viewpoints to study a particular phenomenon. Can uncover common themes. Ranging from typical conditions to those which are more rare or extreme by nature. By condition, it means various research units like people, cases, different sets of data, organizations etc. The various research units exhibit a wide range of behaviors, experiences, attributes, qualities, situations, incidents etc. The central motif of maximum variation sampling is to gather broader and deeper insight into a phenomenon by looking at it from all possible points of view and perspectives. It can often help the researcher identify the basic and common themes that are evident across the sample.
Here, you need to select a small homogeneous group of subjects or units for examination and analysis in the research process. The sampling seeks to achieve a homogeneous sample whose units share similar characteristics or traits regarding age, gender, occupation, background, etc. For example, age 13-19, Teenage School students: female.
- Extreme or Deviant Case Sampling
It focuses on exceptional cases that are rare or unusual by nature. It highlights the senses that have notable outcomes, failures or successes. The deviant case sampling helps research students to make an exciting impression before their professors and contribute something unique to their disciplines. The extreme cases help in providing significant insight into a particular phenomenon which can be used as a lesson or guide for future research or practice. It reflects the purest form of insight into the phenomenon being studied.
Critical case sampling is used in exploratory qualitative research or any limited source research. To identify critical issues, the research team needs to determine the dimensions that make a case critical. It is also used to test a hypothesis by choosing the case that permits logical deductions of the type, “If this is valid for this case, then it should apply to all cases.” Or “If it is not valid for this case, it is unlikely to be valid for any other cases”. So it permits logical generalization and maximum application of information to other cases because if it’s true of this one case, it’s likely to be true of all other cases.
Using typical case sampling, you can study a phenomenon or trend related to what is considered “typical” or “average” members of the affected population. For example, you will know about how a type of educational curriculum affects the average student. Then the researcher chooses to focus on average members of a student population. In this kind of purposive sampling, the units of analysis are large, for example, in studies of villages in developing countries. It will allow the researcher to illustrate the general process that occurs. This strategy is advantageous if the research report will predominantly be read by people unfamiliar with the area of research.
- Total Population sampling
Researchers use this technique to examine the entire population with specific traits like some particular experience, such as the current pandemic situation due to COVID-19, similar knowledge skills, exposure to an event, etc. Here, the entire population is often chosen because the size of the population that has the particular set of characteristics that you are interested in is minimal.
Expert sampling is used to glean knowledge from individuals that have particular expertise in the specific research field. It’s used when you need the opinions or assessment of people with a high degree of knowledge about the study area. When used in this way, expert sampling is a simple sub-type of purposive sampling. It is instrumental where there is a lack of empirical evidence in an area and high levels of uncertainty and situations where it may take a long time before can uncover the findings from research. Therefore, it can be considered as a cornerstone of a research method.
Benefits and Drawbacks of Purposive Sampling
Each different type ofprospective sampling has its advantages and disadvantages. Some of them are discussed below:
- It enables researchers to describe the significant impact their findings have on the population.
- It is convenient to use. It is very time and cost-effective when compared to other sampling methods.
- Purposive sampling has versatile research methods that can tailor to enhance a survey’s effectiveness.
- Even if you have a limited number of primary data sources that can contribute to the survey, you can use the purposive sampling technique to collect data.
- Different techniques have individual goals, but they can justify making generalizations from the sample that is being studied to understand their relative advantages.
- The first drawback is that as the researchers make subjective or generalized assumptions while choosing the participants for the online survey, the result is biased. Although the threat only remains if the researcher’s study is poorly considered. Or if they have not been based on clear criteria.
- The researcher uses their judgment to select the units of measurement. One can challenge the research by suggesting different options to examine if the overall finding results.
- It can be difficult for the students to convince that the judgement you used to select units for the case study was appropriate.
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