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Types of Non-Probability Sampling: Judgmental or Purposive Sampling, Convenience Sampling, Quota Sampling, Snowball Sampling, Consecutive Sampling

  1. JUDGMENT OR PURPOSIVE SAMPLING

In judgmental sampling, the samples are selected based purely on researcher’s knowledge and credibility. In other words, researchers choose only those who he feels are a right fit (with respect to attributes and representation of a population) to participate in research study.

This is not a scientific method of sampling and the downside to this sampling technique is that the results can be influenced by the preconceived notions of a researcher. Thus, there is a high amount of ambiguity involved in this research technique.

For example, this type of sampling method can be used in pilot studies.

  1. CONVENIENCE SAMPLING

Convenience sampling is a non-probability sampling technique where samples are selected from the population only because they are conveniently available to researcher. These samples are selected only because they are easy to recruit and researcher did not consider selecting sample that represents the entire population. 

Ideally, in research, it is good to test sample that represents the population. But, in some research, the population is too large to test and consider the entire population. This is one of the reasons, why researchers rely on convenience sampling, which is the most common non-probability sampling technique, because of its speed, cost-effectiveness, and ease of availability of the sample.

An example of convenience sampling would be using student volunteers known to researcher. Researcher can send the survey to students and they would act as sample in this situation.

  1. Quota Sampling

Hypothetically consider, a researcher wants to study the career goals of male and female employees in an organization. There are 500 employees in the organization. These 500 employees are known as population. In order to understand better about a population, researcher will need only a sample, not the entire population. Further, researcher is interested in particular strata within the population. Here is where quota sampling helps in dividing the population into strata or groups.

For studying the career goals of 500 employees,  technically the sample selected should have proportionate numbers of males and females. Which means there should be 250 males and 250 females. Since, this is unlikely, the groups or strata is selected using quota sampling.

  1. Snowball Sampling

Snowball sampling helps researchers find sample when they are difficult to locate.  Researchers use this technique when the sample size is small and not easily available. This sampling system works like the referral program. Once the researchers find suitable subjects, they are asked for assistance to seek similar subjects to form a considerably good size sample.

For example, this type of sampling can be used to conduct research involving a particular illness in patients or a rare disease. Researchers can seek help from subjects to refer other subjects suffering from the same ailment to form a subjective sample to carry out the study.

  1. Consecutive Sampling

This non-probability sampling technique is very similar to convenience sampling, with a slight variation. Here, the researcher picks a single person or a group of sample, conducts research over a period of time, analyzes the results and then moves on to another subject or group of subject if needed.

Consecutive sampling gives the researcher a chance to work with many subjects and fine tune his/her research by collecting results that have vital insights.

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