Convenience sampling

In convenience sampling, there is no sample design. It is similar to an interviewer questioning people as they meet them on the street or in shopping precincts. Choice of the respondent is left entirely to the interviewer. Some methods, such as this, also allow potential respondents to decide for themselves whether or not to respond.

The researcher takes the most accessible population members from which to obtain information. This happens, for example, when a firm producing a prototype new domestic appliance gets some of its employees to test out the product in their own homes. Such a sample provides useful information to the researcher as long as the sample seems to be reasonably representative of the population being studied. However, asking a convenience sample of students about their reading habits might not be appropriate if you are interested in the reading habits of the population as a whole - i.e. all ages and occupations.

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