Convenience sampling

Convenience Sampling in Qualitative Research

Convenience sampling is a type of non-probability sampling. In this technique the researcher selects sample on the basis of convenience. This makes it easier for the researcher to select any sample that is available. But on the other hand the sample is non-random and therefore based on availability. This makes it less generalizable than any other randomly selected sample.

When a researcher selects a convenience sample or any other non-random sample there is a reason why he did not select the sample randomly. Although convenience sample is non-random the researcher needs to make sure that the sample is not based on his personal judgments and likes. Rather, the selection of each element in the sample should be based on some reason. As, it will improve the credibility of the sample. While wherever possible the researcher should use random sampling technique.

Method of convenience sampling

Convenience sampling is not like purposive or judgmental sampling, in which the selection of sample is based on personal judgment. Here, the researcher selects a sample that is close at hand or easily available. There may be one of many reasons why the researcher uses this technique. For example: the population is not well defined or too disperse and random sampling is not possible.

There is no formal list of the population elements the researcher selects the available sample and asks them questions. The only limitation occur if the respondent is not willing to answer the question. Since this technique is not a random sampling technique, therefore, if the respondent is not willing the researcher picks another respondent.

Application of convenience sampling

The most common use of convenience sampling is in pilot studies. These kind of studies help the researcher refine their research methodology. In some situations this kind of sampling technique is the only option available and, therefore, the researcher compromises between ease of sample selection and accuracy.

Some studies are time-sensitive and many other available sampling techniques take time. The sample is conveniently available and no formality is involved, therefore, the researcher can expedite the research.


  • Since the selection of sample is based on just availability and willingness, this kind of sample is less representative and generalizable to large population.
  • Sampling error is also possible because of non-randomness.
  • There are also chances of bias because the selected sample may not be representative of the entire population.


  • This sampling technique is handy when the researcher wants to get quick information.
  • It makes a good choice for pilot studies. The researcher formulate hypothesis for the actual study with the help of pilot study. This method allows quick data collection and analysis.
  • It also helps the researcher develop more questions for the actual study.
  • Researcher prefer this method for various uses because it is cost effective.
  • The researcher can allocate funds to other parts of the research.



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