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Convenience samples are usually not representative of the population because they are not randomly selected. They are usually comprised of people who are easily accessible or available, which can lead to a biased sample. This means that the sample may not accurately reflect the characteristics of the population as a whole.

Convenience sampling

Sampling from part of the nearby population

Convenience sampling (also known as take sample, accidental samplingor opportunity sampling) is a type of non-probabilistic sampling which involves the sample being drawn from that part of the population which is near. This type of sampling is most useful for pilot test.

Definition

A convenience sample is a type of non-probabilistic sampling method in which the sample is drawn from a group of people who are easy to contact or reach; for example, standing in a mall or grocery store and asking people to answer questions. This type of sampling is also known as random sampling or availability sampling. There are no other criteria for the sampling method, except that people are available and willing to participate. Furthermore, this type of sampling method does not require a simple random sample to be generated, as the only criterion is whether participants agree to participate.

Forms

Convenience sampling is generally not recommended for surveys because of the possibility of sampling error and lack of representativeness of the population. But it can be useful depending on the situation. In some situations, convenience sampling is the only possible option. For example, a college student doing a semester project and wants to know the average Coke consumption in that college town on Friday night is likely to call some of his friends and ask how many cans of Coke they drink or a person nearby to do an easy search. There is always a tradeoff between this fast sampling method and accuracy. The samples collected may not represent the population of interest and therefore be a source of bias.

In the example above, if this college town has a small population and consists mostly of students, and this particular student chooses a graduation party for survey, then your sample has a good chance of representing the population. Larger sample size will reduce the chance of sampling error.

Another example would be a game company that wants to know how one of its games is doing in the market the day after its release. Your analyst may choose to create an online survey about Facebook to rate this game. The biggest challenge with this approach will be reaching out to the people who play. As social media is a vast place, it is always difficult to sample the population of interest. Most people may not be interested or not take the survey seriously when completing it, which results in sampling error. The research can be greatly improved if the analyst publishes it on fanpages dedicated to game lovers. He can find many more people in that group who would be inclined to judge and evaluate the game critically.

Benefits

Convenience sampling can be used by almost anyone and has been around for generations. One of the reasons why it is used the most is because of the numerous advantages it offers. This method is extremely fast, easy, readily available, and cost-effective, making it an attractive option for most researchers.

Accelerated data collection

When time is of the essence, many researchers turn to convenience sampling to data collection, as they can quickly gather data and start their calculations. It is useful in time-sensitive surveys because very little preparation is required to use convenience sampling for data collection. It is also useful when researchers need to conduct pilot data collection to gain a quick understanding of certain trends or develop hypotheses for future research. By gathering information quickly, researchers and scientists can isolate growing trends or extrapolate generalized information from local public opinion.

Ease of search

Researchers who are not looking for accurate sampling can simply collect their information and move on to other aspects of their study. This type of sampling can be done simply by creating a quiz and distribute it to your target group. Through this method, researchers can easily finish collecting their data in a matter of hours, without worrying about whether it is an accurate representation of the population. This allows for greater ease of research, allowing researchers to focus on analyzing the data rather than interviewing and carefully selecting participants.

Since most convenience samples are collected from available populations, data are readily available for the researcher to collect. They typically don’t have to travel great distances to collect the data, but simply extract it from any nearby environment. Having a readily available sample group is important for meeting quotas quickly and allows the researcher to expedite multiple studies.

cost effectiveness

One of the most important aspects of convenience sampling is its cost-effectiveness. This method allows funds to be allocated to other aspects of the project. This sampling method is often used to obtain funding for a larger, more complete research project. In this case, resources are not yet available for a more thorough survey, so a rapid population selection will be used to demonstrate the need for the completed project.

While convenience sampling may be easy to obtain, its disadvantages may outweigh this advantage. This sampling technique may be more appropriate for one type of study and less appropriate for another.

Trend

Convenience sampling results cannot be generalized to the target population because of the potential trend of the sampling technique due to the underrepresentation of subgroups in the sample compared to the population of interest. The trend of the sample cannot be measured. Therefore, inferences based on convenience sampling should only be made about the sample itself.

Power

Convenience sampling is characterized by power identify differences in population subgroups.

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