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Describe Convenience Sampling In Statistics: List And Describe Its Limitations

Referencing Styles : Harvard | Pages : 1

Convenience sampling, also termed as availability sampling, is a particular kind of non-probability sampling method, which depends on data collection from the members of the population available conveniently for participating in the study. The Facebook questions or polls could be mentioned as a popular instance in relation to convenience sampling. Convenience sampling could be defined as a kind of sampling, in which the first available source of primary data would be used for the research in the absence of any additional requirements. In other words, this method of sampling includes obtaining the participants wherever they could be found according to their convenience. In case of convenience sampling, there is no identification of inclusion criteria before the subject selection. Instead, all subjects are invited for participation.

In business studies, the application of this method could be made for obtaining the initial primary data about the particular issues like perception of image of a specific brand or obtaining opinions of the perspective customers in the context of a new product design. In its primary form, the method of convenience sampling could be applied by stopping random individuals on the street and questionnaire questions would be asked to them. The “Pepsi Challenge” campaign of marketing could be denoted as a pertinent example for this method of sampling. This challenge is held occasionally in the big shopping centres along with other crowded locations and all population members are invited to engage in the contest without any sort of discrimination.

This sampling technique might prove to be effective during the stage of exploration of the research area and carrying out pilot data collection for identifying and addressing the shortcomings related to the design of the questionnaire. The usage of the technique of convenience sampling is not encouraged by numerous dissertation supervisors owing to the inability of generalising research findings, greater sampling error and the pertinence of bias. Nevertheless, convenience sampling might be the only available alternative in particular situations. For instance, it might be that an organisation planned to be used as a case study is convenient owing to the ability of the researcher in negotiating access via the existing contacts. The application of convenience sampling is deemed to be the easiest method in contrast to the other sampling methods. For example, a dissertation is devoted on a topic named “A study into the viral marketing sustainability as a marketing tool in the future.

By utilising the method of convenience sampling, it is possible to send a link to the online questionnaire to various individuals on the contact list of the mobile phone, to the individuals that the researcher is connected to through social networking websites like LinkedIn, Facebook and Google Plus and to the individuals that the researcher knows in person. This would be the simplest and the convenient method of recruiting the sources related to primary data for the research. Convenience sampling could be illustrated better with the help of the following examples:

Example 1: When any individual approaches the top authorities in an organisation so that a survey could be carried out on the staffs, the researcher might not obtain permission for doing the same. However, the management might allow the researcher to progress any individual in their free time. It is possible for the researcher to stand in front of the cafeteria in order to obtain respondents for the survey. This is termed as convenience sampling and the researcher would have a better chance of accumulating data from the individuals accessible to him.

Example 2: If a researcher intends to learn regarding the mental and physical condition of women suffering from a specific disease, the researcher could approach the patients of a specific hospital or doctor. There would be women participating voluntarily in the research. Therefore, it becomes an instance of convenience sampling, since the subjects are accessible conveniently to the researcher.

Despite the fact that this method of sampling could be reached to completion, the lessons that the researcher could learn from the same are a topic of debate. Therefore, the merits and limitations of this method have to be analysed very carefully.

The method of convenience sampling is subject to a variety of limitations, which are elucidated briefly as follows:

Chance of biasness:

The data gathered by this method might depict the perspectives of a particular group and not the overall population. It is a common fact that few groups are over-represented, while other groups are not represented adequately. For instance, in the study of a particular disease related to women, information is collected from them, who are observed to be patients of a specific hospital or doctor. Therefore, the patients of the other clinics are left out in this case. Moreover, the other probable age groups are not covered as well. Furthermore, women form all groups of the society and other cities are not included in the sample as well. Therefore, the findings do not depict the overall population.

Increased chance of a sampling error:

Since the self itself is not free from bias, inaccuracies are bound to be obvious as well. This is deemed to be a sampling error.

Non-generalisation of outcomes:

Based on the above reasons, it is not possible to generalise the inferences drawn from the research and this is what is applicable to all individuals. It is possible to identify trends; however, laws or rules are not possible to be formulated. Moreover, the researcher could not make a statement as well, since they are not representative of the overall population.

Therefore, before choosing the method of convenience sampling, it is necessary to take into account all the cons before the start of the research.  

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