Purposeful sampling: Dissertation/Thesis Research


How best to select participants who will facilitate the ability of others to connect if random selection is not an option? The most commonly agreed upon answer is purposeful sampling. There are several approaches like typical case, extreme or deviant case, critical case, sensitive case, convenience sampling, and maximum variation sampling. Try our Dissertation Services.

Maximum variation sampling can refer to both sites and people. The range of people and sites from which the sample is selected should be fair to the larger population. This sampling technique should allow the widest possibility for readers of the study to connect to what they are reading. Using the maximum variation approach, the researcher would analyze the potential population to assess the maximum range of sites and people that constitute the population.

If the range became unmanageable, the researcher would want to limit the study, looking at, for example, the experience of one minority group in a number of locals or the experience of the full range of minority members in one or two locals. The goal would remain to sample purposely the widest variation of sites and people within the limits of the study.

In addition to selecting participants who reflect the wide range in the larger population under study, another useful approach is to select some participants who are outside that range and may in some sense be considered negative cases. In the study discussed above about what it is like for a minority teacher to be a member of a local teacher’s union, it would also be useful to include some non-minority teachers who are also members of the local. Get guaranteed approvals on your research through our Dissertation Proofreading.

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