NRS 433 Describe sampling theory and provide examples to illustrate your definition

NRS 433 Describe sampling theory and provide examples to illustrate your definition

Describe sampling theory and provide examples to illustrate your definition. Discuss generalizability as it applies to nursing research.

Sampling theory refers to a type of data collection that relates to qualitative data. This method is used to gain information about the subject that is being researched. The point of this is to gain valuable information to prove their point and to solidify the purpose even more. Sampling is essentially picking some people to participate in the research instead of having a large community participate (Falkner et al., 2022). This can be useful for this research. It can be very hard to research large populations are communities at the same time. There are different types of sampling where the researcher will pick the participants, the participants can volunteer, or the participants can recommend other participants. Since we can basically research anything, an example of sampling could research the number of hours worked on average between all the nurses at the hospital. If it is a large hospital, it would probably be easier to pick some of the nurses instead of all the nurses to perform this study. Generalizability is also important while performing research. This is where research can be applied to the larger population. Based on how sampling was performed, that same method could potentially be used for generalization. This is important because in nursing, there is not one size that fits all. Since nursing is for the entire population, the population cared for is extremely diverse.


Falkner, A., Green, S. Z., Helbig, J., Johnson, J., McNiff, P., Petrick, M., & Schmidt, M. (2022). Nursing research: Understanding methods for best practice. Grand Canyon University (Ed.).


The framework of sampling theory is that it explains methods of selecting population/ samples. (Helbig, 2018). “When selecting the study sample, the investigator must have a target population in mind, and the population selected must be appropriate to the drug, treatment, and/or procedure being studied.” (Helbig, 2018). There are two types of sampling probability and nonprobability.

Probability sampling is all subjects in the target population have equal chances to be selected. (Elfil and Negida, 2017). This can be random sampling. This means that every member has equal probability of being chosen, such as being randomly picked from a list. “Stratified random sample first divides the population into smaller groups, or strata, based on shared characteristics. Therefore, a stratified sampling strategy will ensure that members from each subgroup are included in the data analysis.” (Hall, 2021).

Non-probability sampling involves sample selection in a non-systematic process that does not guarantee equal changes for each subject in the target population. (Elfil and Nagidea, 2017). There are four types availability sampling, judgment sampling, quota sampling and snowball sampling. Availability sampling, participants are based on convenience or volunteer sampling; this is usually use in clinical research. This is based on availability and accessibility. Judgmental sampling involves selection of samples by investigators choice using a specific characteristic from sample. (Elfil and Nagida, 2017). Snowball sampling is the study of participants referring other participants to the researchers for inclusion in the study. (Green, 2018)

Generalizability as is applies to nursing research by “the results of a study are generalizable when they can be applied (are useful for informing a clinical decision) to patients who present care.” (Kamper, 2020). This can help the nursing and clinicians to make reasoned decisions due to the research findings beyond a study population.

Elfil, M., & Negida, A. (2017). Sampling methods in Clinical Research; an Educational Review. Emergency (Tehran, Iran)5(1), e52.

Green, S., Z., and Johnson, J., L. (2018). Research ethics and evaluation of qualitative research. Nursing research: Understanding methods for best practice. Retrieved from

Hall, M. (2021). Simple Random vs, Stratified Random Sample: What’s the difference?. Investopedia.

Helbig, J. (2018). History and process of nursing research, evidence-based nursing practice and quantitative and qualitative research process. Nursing research: Understanding methods for best practice

Kamper S. J. (2020). Generalizability: Linking Evidence to Practice. The Journal of orthopaedic and sports physical therapy50(1), 45–46.


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Sampling theory is a fundamental aspect of nursing research. It involves selecting a subset of participants or data from a larger population to draw accurate conclusions (UNext Editorial Team, 2023). “Theoretical sampling is a qualitative sampling technique that evolves over the course of a study as the researcher begins to understand more from the emerging data” (Curtis & Keeler, 2021). It ensures the representativeness of the sample, which is crucial for generalizability, the extent to which study findings can be applied to a broader population. For instance, in a study examining the effectiveness of a new pain management protocol in a hospital, random sampling of patients from diverse units ensures a more generalizable outcome than selecting only surgical patients. Convenience sampling, like surveying only willing volunteers, may limit generalizability, as it could exclude those less motivated to participate.

Generalizability in nursing research refers to the extent to which the findings of a study can be applied or generalized to a larger population beyond the specific sample that was studied (Garzon, 2022). When conducting nursing research, it’s crucial to carefully consider the sampling methods used in order to advance evidence-based practice.



Curtis, A. & Keeler, C.  (2021).  Sampling Design in Nursing Research.  AJN, American Journal of Nursing,  121 (3),  53-57.  doi: 10.1097/01.NAJ.0000737304.14564.51.


UNext Editorial Team. (2023, March 1). What is Sampling Theory? Definition, Terms, and Applications | UNext | UNext. UNext


Garzon, A. (2022). Hydrocephalus Research 101: Generalizability. Hydrocephalus Association,said%20to%20have%20good%20generalizability

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