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CHAPTER 4

What Is a Sample?

.” sarn-

The sample is the group of elements, or a single element, from which data are obtained. Although the phrase “the sample included used to indicate the characteristics of the people or events in the ple, the nature of the sampling procedure is usually described by one or more adjectives, such as random sampling or stratified random sampling. These types of sampling procedures are defined, with illustrations from actual studies, in the following section. It is important for the researcher to define as specifically as possible both the sampling procedure and the characteristics of the sample used in the study. Here is an example of a good description of the sample.

is

.

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~

,:

_

“.

,y ,,,;

2.

1:.

_

.

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,;

I

The sample

for

this study consisted of

n&e

se&h-grade.

&thematics .?:

district brochure, the district had

32,000 students

in 42 elementary schools, 9 middle schools, and 9 high schools during

the school year the study was conducted.

and their students. All teachers had and each teacher received a 5100 stipend. The

p u b l i c s c h o o l s i n a m e d i u m - s i z e d W e s t e r n c i t y , a l o w - m i d d l e t o m i d d l e

community with a

proportion of minorities.

a..

the

in four

;

teachers

) ;)

class school

small

apptOXimately

vOlUnteered fat

study’ ;

teachers.taught

Accordirig to

:; :$ ,t

.;

: ‘:

The

ciass

sizes ranged from 16 to 34.

There’were 5 femb?

and 4

.‘.<

male

teachers. The teachers had an average of approximately 11 years of

f :

teaching experience (range

teachers (range 2

=

22)

and

2-26). Of these 11 years, 8 were as math 6 were as middle-school math teachers

=

(range

=

2-10). All had secondary

cettification,

and 4 had Master’s de-,

grees

in Administration. One of the teachers had a

matlI

major in college,

6 a math minor, and 2 had no special training in math.”

(Bur

“sand Lash.

:

1986,

p.

395)

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:’

TYPES OF SAMPLING PROCEDURES

The purpose of sampling is to obtain a group of subjects who will be representative of the larger population or will provide specific informa-

tion needed. The degree of

representativeness

is based on the sampling

technique employed. I and then consider the

will first strengths

describe different and weaknesses of

sampling each in

procedures obtaining a

representative

sample.

Probability Sampling

In social science and educational research it is usually impractical and unnecessary to measure all the elements in the population of interest.

Typically, a relatively small number of subjects or

cases

is selected from

Sample: Group of subjects from

whom data are collected.

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