Probability sampling is used to assist researchers in generalizing from observed cases to unobserved cases. As a research method, probability sampling is a method of selection in which each member of a population has a known chance or probability of being selected. If it is the case that all members of a population are similar in all respects, there is no need for sampling procedures. A sample must contain essentially the same variations that exist in the population. The original sampling method must be known to evaluate the quality of a sample and findings based on that sample’s responses and behavior, and findings will only be as generalizable as the sample is to the original larger target population.
The purpose of this discussion is to understand that there are various methods of sampling and that a successful study relies on the thoughtful sample planning to choose the best research method to effectively investigate social processes without having to consider every setting or person. Based on your reading assignment and any additional research needed, address the following in your main post:
- Explain, using examples, how sampling as a research method is used for statistical data analysis in criminology or criminal justice.
- Differentiate between the advantages and disadvantages of probability-based sampling designs and nonprobability-based designs.
- Explore whether any of the research described in Chapter 5 of your Fundamentals of Research in Criminology and Criminal Justice text with a nonprobability-based design has been conducted instead with the probability-based design.
- Describe the type of probability sample used in the study.
- Draft a problem statement for a research topic relevant to criminology that could be used in conjunction with the probability sampling method you shared.
- Differentiate the strong and weak points in how the sample was drawn in terms of how they may affect the success of the study.
- Analyze your level of confidence in the validity of generalizations about the population based on the sample.