In clinical research, sampling and generalizability of research are vital in nursing practice because the nurse can apply the findings of the sample to the patients they treat. The sampling method used affects the generalizability of clinical research. The purpose of this paper is to discuss the sampling theory and describe how generalizability applies to nursing research.
Sampling theory is a significant aspect of clinical research. Peregrine (2018) defined sampling theory as the way to study relationships between a population and a sample from that population. Furthermore, Elfil and Negida (2017) indicated that there are two types of sampling. The first is probability sampling, where the target population has equal chances of selection, and the second is non-probability sampling, which is the opposite of probability. According to Peregrine (2018), the aim of sampling theory is to ensure that subsets in a population have an equal opportunity of being selected. In clinical research, a sample selected using the sampling theory has the likelihood of increase the generalizability of the findings.
Generalizability is vital in research. Elfil and Negida (2017) indicated that the internal and external validity of research methods, particularly sampling, affects the generalizability of clinical research findings. However, when selecting a sample of study participants, their value does not determine generalizability. Instead, it provides insights into the research question (Wolff et al., 2018). That means that healthcare researchers should use probability sampling to ensure that their findings can be applied to people and situations in nursing practice.
Overall, in research, it is important to determine the appropriate sample size. Most importantly, from the research, incorporating sampling theory is essential to increase the generalizability of findings. Clinical researchers need to select their sample equally to increase to allow nurses to apply valuable findings in their everyday practice.
Elfil, M., & Negida, A. (2017). Sampling methods in clinical research: An educational review. Emergency (Tehran, Iran), 5(1), e52. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5325924/
Peregrine, P. N. (2018). Sampling theory. Wiley Online Library. https://doi.org/10.1002/9781119188230.saseas0516
Wolff, B., Mahoney, F., Lohiniva, A. L., & Corkum, M. (2018, December 13th). Collecting and analyzing qualitative data. Center for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/eis/field-epi-manual/chapters/Qualitative-Data.html
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