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    Purposive Sampling Method: Definition, Types and Techniques

    Home / Blog / Purposive Sampling Method: Definition, Types And Techniques

    Purposive Sampling
     Admin  Published On Jul 3, 2021 | Updated on Aug 10, 2023  General

    Purposive sampling is a non-probability sampling type on which researchers depend when it comes to selecting members of the population for conducting a survey. Here, the sample is chosen based on the population characteristics and research objectives. It is in no way related to convenience sampling, for which it’s also termed selective, judgmental, or subjective sampling. Narrowing the audience helps researchers to enhance the average response rate of the participants related to the survey.

    What is purposive sampling?

    In this sampling kind, researchers rely on their instincts while selecting the individuals to participate in the survey. However, this method requires research paper experts to possess adequate knowledge about the study purpose, which in turn facilitates their decision-making process. Purposive sampling comes in handy to researchers when they aim to access a specific people subset within a parallel structure. It is because all participants are chosen based on their acquaintance with that particular profile.

    Types and technique options used in purposive sampling

    Some of the primary purposive sampling types are listed below:

    1. Maximum Variation Sample: Also known as a heterogeneous purposive sample, it is chosen to provide different cases in line with a certain phenomenon. This sample design is used by researchers to provide insights into the event/phenomenon under scrutiny. For example, while conducting a street survey relating to an issue, a researcher has to collect the opinions of different individuals. It helps the researcher to construct a robust view of the case from the public’s standpoint.
    2. Homogenous Sampling: This purposive sampling type is chosen for having a shared set of features. A homogenous purposive sample is the reverse of a maximum variation sample. For instance, if a researcher wants to decipher the significance of white skin from the individuals of white skin type.
    3. Typical Case Sampling: Situations may arise when researchers feel the urge to study a phenomenon or trend. Under these circumstances, resorting to a typical case sampling type can be helpful for researchers as the same is related to the “average” members of the population. When a researcher tries to assess the impact of an educational course on an “average” student, their focus automatically deviates to the average learners.
    4. Extreme Case Sampling: When researchers try to assess the outliers that bifurcate from the norm relating to a specific phenomenon, they resort to extreme case sampling. This purposive sampling kind helps researchers to understand the behavioral traits of individuals in a better manner. For example, when researchers try to decipher the connection between study habits and excellent academic achievement, they have to sample learners who are generally considered to be high achievers.
    5. Critical Case Sampling: Here, researchers deal with a single case as they believe it will give insights that can be utilized in other cases. A renowned sociologist C.J. Pascoe implemented this sampling type while studying the development of gender identity and sexuality among high school learners. So, she selected the samples apt for an average high school based on population terms and family income.
    6. Total Population Sampling: When researchers want to deal with the entire population, choosing this purposive sampling type is the perfect decision. More often, it is used to get reviews of experiences or events that are common to certain groups within an area of a larger population density.
    7. Expert Sampling: Researchers rely on expert sampling when the objective is to gain knowledge in a particular field. It’s the reason for which expert sampling is frequently used in the initial stages of a research process. It increases the knowledge bank of researchers while at the same time becoming better informed about the subject matter. With this study, researchers can frame research design and research questions in a more refined way.

    What is purposive sampling in qualitative research?

    In qualitative research, purposive sampling is a widely implemented technique for detecting information-rich cases that further enables optimum and most effective use of available resources. Here, individuals are selected who are experienced and knowledgeable with interest in the research topic like quantitative research topics. Besides the above aspects, the researchers should also take into account the availability and willingness of the individuals to participate while focusing on their communication skills. Strong communicative ability is demanded as they have to express their opinions reflectively to the audience.

    What are the advantages of purposive sampling?

    The benefits of purposive sampling are listed below:

    1. Getting access to relevant information: Researchers gain a lot of information from the collected data through purposive sampling. In other words, it enables the researchers to study the primary impact their uncovering have on the population.
    2. Time and cost-effectiveness: Another benefit of purposive sampling is that it’s both time and cost-effective when compared to other sampling models.
    3. Versatile: It is a versatile research method owing to its various types, as mentioned above. It accelerates a survey’s effectiveness in more ways than one.
    4. Only sampling method that can be used when there are few primary data sources: Sometimes, purposive sampling is the only viable approach when the number of primary data sources is limited while conducting a survey.

    Purposive sampling is a popular choice among researchers for its convenience. Also, it helps the researchers to get access to the relevant information within a short period, and more importantly, without any brainstorming, as from the findings, it can be deduced very easily.

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