Types of Sampling

Sampling can be basically categorized into probability and non-probability sampling. In probability sampling, each and every element of the population has a probability of being selected in the sample, i.e., the probability can be accurately measured. Whereas, in non-probability sampling, not all elements have a chance of being selected in the sample, i.e., their probability cannot be accurately measured.

The commonly used sampling methods are given below:

»  Deliberate sampling: It is a non-probability sample design in which the researcher purposively or deliberately selects certain units of the universe to form a sample that would represent the universe. In other words, it is a sampling with a purpose. It is also known as purposive sampling.


»  Simple random sampling: It is a probability sample design where each and every element has an equal probability of being selected in the sample. It is also known as chance sampling.


»  Systematic sampling: In this method, elements from a large population are selected at periodic intervals according to a random starting point, i.e., every nth element is selected for the sample, where n can be any random position of an element.


»  Stratified sampling: In this method, the researcher divides the entire population into different subgroups or strata, and then randomly selects elements proportionally from the strata to include in the sample.


»  Quota sampling: It is a non-probability sample in which the researcher selects random units for a sample according to certain given criteria or quota. In other words, elements are selected according to pre-specified criteria in such a way that the sample represents the same characteristics of the population under study.


Importance of knowing how research is done

The study of research methodology gives the student the necessary training in gathering material and arranging or card-indexing them, participation in the field work when required, and also training in techniques for the collection of data appropriate to particular problems, in the use of statistics, questionnaires and controlled experimentation and in recording evidence, sorting it out and interpreting it. In fact, importance of knowing the methodology of research or how research is done stems from the following considerations:

1. For one who is preparing himself for a career of carrying out research, the importance of knowing research methodology and research techniques is obvious since the same constitute the tools of his trade. The knowledge of methodology provides good training especially to the new research worker and enables him to do better research. It helps him to develop disciplined thinking or a ‘bent of mind’ to observe the field objectively. Hence, those aspiring for careerism in research must develop the skill of using research techniques and must thoroughly understand the logic behind them.

2. Knowledge of how to do research will inculcate the ability to evaluate and use research results with reasonable confidence. In other words, we can state that the knowledge of research methodology is helpful in various fields such as government or business administration, community development and social work where persons are increasingly called upon to evaluate and use research results for action.

3. When one knows how research is done, then one may have the satisfaction of acquiring a new intellectual tool which can become a way of looking at the world and of judging every day experience. Accordingly, it enables us to make intelligent decisions concerning problems facing us in practical life at different points of time. Thus, the knowledge of research methodology provides tools to look at things in life objectively.
4. In this scientific age, all of us are in many ways consumers of research results and we can use them intelligently provided we are able to judge the adequacy of the methods by which they have been obtained. The knowledge of methodology helps the consumer of research results to evaluate them and enables him to take rational decisions.


Research Methods

Research methods may be understood as all those methods/techniques that are used for conduction of research. Research methods or techniques, thus, refer to the methods the researchers use in performing research operations. In other words, all those methods which are used by the researcher during the course of studying his research problem are termed as research methods. Since the object of research, particularly the applied research, it to arrive at a solution for a given problem, the available data and the unknown aspects of the problem have to be related to each other to make a solution possible. Keeping this in view, research methods can be put into the following three groups:

1. In the first group we include those methods which are concerned with the collection of data. These methods will be used where the data already available are not sufficient to arrive at the required solution;
2. The second group consists of those statistical techniques which are used for establishing relationships between the data and the unknowns;
3. The third group consists of those methods which are used to evaluate the accuracy of the results obtained.
Research methods falling in the above stated last two groups are generally taken as the analytical tools of research.


Significance of Market Research

Research has its special significance in solving various operational and planning problems of business and industry. Operations research and market research, along with motivational research, are considered crucial and their results assist, in more than one way, in taking business decisions. Market research is the investigation of the structure and development of a market for the purpose of formulating efficient policies for purchasing, production and sales. Operations research refers to the application of mathematical, logical and analytical techniques to the solution of business problems of cost minimization or of profit maximization or what can be termed as optimization problems. Motivational research of determining why people behave as they do is mainly concerned with market characteristics. In other words, it is concerned with the determination of motivations underlying the consumer (market) behavior. All these are of great help to people in business and industry who are responsible for taking business decisions. Research with regard to demand and market factors has great utility in business. Given knowledge of future demand, it is generally not difficult for a firm, or for an industry to adjust its supply schedule within the limits of its projected capacity. Market analysis has become an integral tool of business policy these days. Business budgeting, which ultimately results in a projected profit and loss account, is based mainly on sales estimates which in turn depend on business research. Once sales forecasting is done, efficient production and investment programs can be set up around which are grouped the purchasing and financing plans. Research, thus, replaces intuitive business decisions by more logical and scientific decisions.


Quantitative vs. Qualitative Research

Quantitative research is based on the measurement of quantity or amount. It is applicable to phenomena that can be expressed in terms of quantity. Qualitative research, on the other hand, is concerned with qualitative phenomenon, i.e., phenomena relating to or involving quality or kind. For instance, when we are interested in investigating the reasons for human behavior (i.e., why people think or do certain things), we quite often talk of ‘Motivation Research’, an important type of qualitative research. This type of research aims at discovering the underlying motives and desires using in depth interviews for the purpose. Other techniques of such research are word association tests, sentence completion tests, story completion tests and similar other projective techniques. Attitude or opinion research i.e., research designed to find out how people feel or what they think about a particular subject or institution is also qualitative research. Qualitative research is especially important in the behavioral sciences where the aim is to discover the underlying motives of human behavior. Through such research we can analyze the various factors which motivate people to behave in a particular manner or which make people like or dislike a particular thing. It may be stated, however, that to apply qualitative research in practice is relatively a difficult job and therefore, while doing such research, one should seek guidance from experimental psychologists.



Research Design

A research design is the arrangement of the conditions for collections and analysis of data in a manner that aims to combine relevance to the research purpose with economy in procedure.
Research design is the conceptual structure with in which research is conducted;
It constitutes the blue print for the collection, measurement and analysis of data. As such the design includes an outline of what the researcher will do from writing the hypothesis is and its operational implications to the final analysis of data. The designing decisions happen to be in respect of;
• What is the study about?
• Why is the studying being made?
• Where will the study be carried out?
• What type of data is required?
• Where can the required data be found?
• What periods of time will the study include?
• What will be the sample design?
• What techniques of data collection will be used?
• How will the data be analyzed?
• In what style will the report be prepared?


Exploratory research

Exploratory research usually provides qualitative data. Exploratory research provides greater understanding of a concept or crystallizes a problem rather than providing precise measurement. The focus of such qualitative research is not on numbers but on words on observations: stories, visual portrayals, meaningful characterizations, interpretations and other expressive descriptions. Exploratory research may be single research investigation or a series of informal studies intend to provide background information.