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Sampling in Research in Education

Sampling in Research in Education

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Published by V.K. Maheshwari

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Published by: V.K. Maheshwari on May 09, 2011
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Sampling In Research in Education
Dr. V. K. MAHESHWARI Dr. SURAKSHA BANSALFormer Principal PrincipalK.L.D.A.V. College Gandhi Inst. of professional &technical studies
 Sampling is the act, process, or technique of selecting a suitable sample, or a representative part of a population for the purpose of determining parameters or characteristics of the whole population The process of defining a representative subpopulation to study iscalled sampling.
Research is an Endeavour to study or obtain knowledge through the use of a systematic approachwith the intent of clarification. This includes activities which attempt to discover new facts,information, or new applications of existing knowledgeIt is a careful or diligent search, studious inquiry or examination especially investigation or experimentation aimed at the discovery and interpretation of facts, revision of accepted theories or laws in the light of new facts or practical application of such new or revised theories or laws, it canalso be the collection of information about a particular subject.
The Concept of Sample
Most people intuitively understand the idea of sampling. The basic idea of sampling is that by selecting some of the elements in a population, we may draw conclusions about the entire population.
A sample is a finite part of a statistical population whose properties are studied to gain informationabout the whole (Webster, 1985). When dealing with people, it can be defined as a set of respondents(people) selected from a larger population for the purpose of a survey.Researchers have developed a number of techniques where only a small portion of the total population is sampled, and attempts to generalize the results and conclusions for the entire populationare madeIn research it would be ideal to include the entire population when conducting a study; this enables ageneralization to be made about the results to the population as a whole. In some cases this has been possible, but not always.
Sometimes, the entire population will be sufficiently small, and the researcher can include the entire population in the study. This type of research is called a census study because data is gathered onevery member of the population.Usually, the population is too large for the researcher to attempt to survey all of its members. A small, but carefully chosen sample can be used to represent the population. The sample reflects thecharacteristics of the population from which it is drawn.Since it will not be practical to recruit every human for the study, it is necessary to definean
accessible population
. The accessible population is a subset of the target population that reflectsspecific characteristics with respect to age, gender, diagnosis, etc., and who are accessible for study.Cox and West describe a population as a well-defined group of people or objects that share commoncharacteristics. A population in a research study is a group of individual’s persons, objects, or itemsfrom which samples are taken for measurement for example a population of presidents or professors, books or students.A population is group about which some information is sought. Most researchers cannot include allmembers of the population in their studies and must resort to limiting the number of subjects to only asample from the population It is incumbent on the researcher to clearly define the target population.There are no strict rules to follow, and the researcher must rely on logic and judgment. The population is defined in keeping with the objectives of the study.
A basic principle of sampling is that every member of the population must have an equalchance of being included in the sample
The purpose of sampling?
The cost of studying an entire population to answer a specific question is usually prohibitivein terms of time, money and resources. Therefore, a subset of subjects representative of agiven population must be selected; this is called sampling. The concepts involved in selectingsubjects to represent the larger population are presentedA
is a small subset of the population that has been chosen to be studied . The sampleshould represent the population and have sufficient size so can be subjected to a faistatistical analysis. Unfortunately, all samples deviate from the true nature of the overall population by a certain amount due to chance variations in drawing the sample's few casesfrom the population's many possible members. This is called
 sampling error 
and isdistinguished from non-chance variations due to determining factors. Determining factorsinclude items such as biased sampling procedures, effects of independent variables, researchconditions and other causal agents or circumstances.There would be no need for statistical theory if a census rather than a sample was alwaysused to obtain information about populations. But a census may not be practical and is almostnever economical.
Main reasons for sampling
There are six main reasons for sampling instead of doing a census. These are; -Economy -Timeliness-The large size of many populations -Inaccessibility of some of the population -Destructiveness of theobservation –accuracy
The economic advantage
Obviously, taking a sample requires fewer resources than a census. For example, let usassume that you are one of the very curious students around. You have heard so much aboutthe famous I.I.T and now that you are there, you want to hear from the insiders. You want toknow what all the students at I.I.T. think about the quality of teaching they receive, you knowthat all the students are different so they are likely to have different perceptions and you believe you must get all these perceptions so you decide because you want an indepth viewof every student, you will conduct personal interviews with each one of them and you wantthe results in 20 days only, let us assume this particular time you are doing your researchCornell has only 2000 students and those who are helping are so fast at the interviewing artthat together you can interview at least 10 students per person per day in addition to your 18credit hours of course work. You will require 100 research assistants for 20 days and sinceyou are paying them minimum wage of Rs5.00 per hour for ten hours (Rs50.00) per person per day, you will require Rs100000 just to complete the interviews, analysis will just beimpossible. You may decide to hire additional assistants to help with the analysis at another Rs.100000 and so on assuming you have that amount on your account
.As unrealistic as this example is, it does illustrate the very high cost of census. For the type of information desired, a small wisely selected sample of I.I.T students can serve the purpose. You don`teven have to hire a single assistant. You can complete the interviews and analysis on your own.Rarely does a circustance require a census of the population, and even more rarely does one justifythe expense.
The time factor
A sample may provide you with needed information quickly. For example, you are a Doctor and a disease has broken out in a village within your area of jurisdiction, the disease iscontagious and it is killing within hours nobody knows what it is. You are required toconduct quick tests to help save the situation. If you try a census of those affected, they may be long dead when you arrive with your results. In such a case just a few of those alreadyinfected could be used to provide the required information
The very large populations
Many populations about which inferences must be made are quite large. For example,consider the population of high school students of disadvantage group of society in India, agroup numbering 4,000,000. The responsible agency in the government has to plan for howthey will be absorbed into the different departments and even the private sector. Theemployers would like to have specific knowledge about the student’s plans in order to makecompatible plans to absorb them during the coming year. But the big size of the population

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