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Purposive sampling: complex or simple? Research case examples


Campbell, S and Greenwood, M and Prior, S and Shearer, T and Walkem, K and Young, S and Bywaters, D and Walker, K, Purposive sampling: complex or simple? Research case examples, Journal of Research in Nursing, 25, (8) pp. 652-661. ISSN 1744-9871 (2020) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2020 The Authors

DOI: doi:10.1177/1744987120927206


Background: Purposive sampling has a long developmental history and there are as many views that it is simple and straightforward as there are about its complexity. The reason for purposive sampling is the better matching of the sample to the aims and objectives of the research, thus improving the rigour of the study and trustworthiness of the data and results. Four aspects to this concept have previously been described: credibility, transferability, dependability and confirmability.

Aims: The aim of this paper is to outline the nature and intent of purposive sampling, presenting three different case studies as examples of its application in different contexts.

Results: Presenting individual case studies has highlighted how purposive sampling can be integrated into varying contexts dependent on study design. The sampling strategies clearly situate each study in terms of trustworthiness for data collection and analysis. The selected approach to purposive sampling used in each case aligns to the research methodology, aims and objectives, thus addressing each of the aspects of rigour.

Conclusions: Making explicit the approach used for participant sampling provides improved methodological rigour as judged by the four aspects of trustworthiness. The cases presented provide a guide for novice researchers of how rigour may be addressed in qualitative research.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:research, case studies, interview research, novice nurse researchers, purposive sampling, study design, trustworthiness
Research Division:Health Sciences
Research Group:Nursing
Research Field:Nursing not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Other health
Objective Field:Other health not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Campbell, S (Professor Steven Campbell)
UTAS Author:Greenwood, M (Associate Professor Melanie Greenwood)
UTAS Author:Prior, S (Dr Sarah Prior)
UTAS Author:Shearer, T (Mrs Toniele Shearer)
UTAS Author:Walkem, K (Ms Kerrie Walkem)
UTAS Author:Young, S (Dr Sarah Young)
UTAS Author:Bywaters, D (Mrs Danielle Bywaters)
UTAS Author:Walker, K (Professor Kim Walker)
ID Code:139533
Year Published:2020
Web of Science® Times Cited:93
Deposited By:Nursing
Deposited On:2020-06-19
Last Modified:2021-11-10

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