Probability Sampling & Convenience Sampling – Importance and Difference
Do you know what convenience and probability sampling are? If you are conducting original dissertation research and exploring a topic, you will need to choose a sampling method to obtain the required participants. Which method suits your research study depends on what type of study you are conducting and the resources you can utilise to collect the samples. The two most common sampling methods that are mostly used are probability (random sampling) and non-probability (convenience sampling).
In today’s article, I will explain these two sampling methods one by one. Their definition and importance of using these methods will be part of today’s discussion. In the end, a detailed discussion on the differences between convenience and probability sampling will also be part of today’s post. So, let’s get started by defining these methods first.
What is probability sampling and its importance in research?
Probability sampling refers to the selection of research participants when this selection is based on the principle of randomisation. It means that each participant is selected randomly, and each member of the population has an equal chance of being selected for the study. This sampling method is based on a probabilistic approach. It means that each participant is selected using some kind of mathematical method. For example, as a researcher, you assign the numbers to the population of your study. After that, you choose numbers randomly and pick the research participants based on your choice.
Importance of probability sampling
Below are the points that highlight the importance of this important sampling method:
- It leads to higher quality research results because of the limited researcher bias
- It helps you have an idea of the whole population by studying the selected samples
- It enables you to make statistical inferences about the population
- It is very convenient and easy to use in the case of simple random sampling
What is convenience sampling and its importance in research?
Convenience sampling is a non-probability sampling method where the researcher selects the research participants purely on the basis of ease of access. As an investigator, you make no or little effort to connect with different members of a population. Instead of developing a mechanism for research participants selection, you collect the data from the participants who are only easily accessible. The geographical proximity leads to the selection of participants based on this method.
Importance of convenience sampling
Below are the points that shed some light on its importance in research:
- It becomes important to use when the population of interest is too large or has many strata to study
- The study can be completed within a limited timeframe
- The research participants are easily accessible, and this makes this method important
Differences between convenience and probability sampling
From the discussion above, you have a good idea of both sampling methods and their importance. Now, it is time to discuss their differences. However, before discussing the differences, I would like to mention that if you still feel any ambiguity in understanding these methods, go and get PhD dissertation help. The employees of such help can help you understand these methods with practical examples. Nevertheless, a brief description of the differences is as follows:
1. Selection bias of research participants
The first difference between probability and convenience sampling lies in the form of selection bias. The method of probability sampling is not prone to selection bias. In this method, the researcher selects the respondents purely on the basis of randomisation, and there is no involvement of his own will. On the other hand, the respondents in convenience sampling are prone to selection bias. As the researcher gives priority to his comfort, he may choose samples that are not representative of the whole population.
2. The difference in the accessibility of respondents
Next up is the difference that lies in the accessibility of respondents. Accessibility means how hard it is to access the research participants. As you make random selections in the case of the probability method, chances are that your selected respondent may not be accessible to you easily. In the meantime, there is no such problem in the case of convenience sampling. You access the respondents who are easy to approach.
3. The difference in research timeframe
The probability method of sampling takes more time than non-probability sampling. Much of the time is wasted in developing the procedures for respondent selection. For example, first, you define the problem, then assign the numbers, and at last, select the participants randomly. This is not the case with convenience sampling. The reason is that you select participants who are easy to access. So, the total research does not take much time.
Conclusively, probability sampling and convenience sampling are two different research participant selection methods. Both have their own importance in research which is mentioned above. The two sampling methods differ from each other a lot. The major differences are also mentioned above. So, this article is a whole guide about these two sampling methods. Read it till the last sentence and learn.