12 Days of SoTL: Day 07

Participant Selection

Participant selection can be a tricky issue particularly when we are undertaking an education inquiry with our own students. There is a variety of sampling techniques (probability and non-probability sampling methods) we can refer to:

  • Cluster Sampling
  • Snowball Sampling
  • Convenience Sampling etc

Convenience sampling is most likely to be your easiest and most often used form of sampling as it means exactly what it says on the tin. You have easy access to the participants, and they are willing to participate. There are of course disadvantages to all the techniques. Your convenience sampling might be representative of your classroom but not be representative of characteristics of the wider field, e.g.: age, socio-economic factors.

Have a look at the resources colleagues from Statistics have provided:


Also, The SAGE Dictionary of Social Research Methods is a really good resource to explain briefly and clearly different aspects you can use in your SoTL projects.

Photo of pine trees covered in a foot of snow
Winter Landscape in the Alps (c) @drnsheridan

To #TeamUofG it’s available as online book: http://methods.sagepub.com.ezproxy.lib.gla.ac.uk/reference/the-sage-dictionary-of-social-research-methods

At this point you may have noticed that in educational inquiries, as a multidisciplinary field we make use of research strategies from different disciplines and subjects. This is to do with the nature of education. Gudjons (1999) already pointed out the complexity and interrelationship of the different fields of interest in education. Some, such as educational psychology, developed into distinct disciplines.

Gudjons, H. (1999) Pädagogisches Grundwissen. 6th ed. Bverlag Julius Konkhardt. Bad Heilbrunn.

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