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How to do your Social Research Project or Dissertation

How to do your Social Research Project or Dissertation (1st edn)

Tom Clark, Liam Foster, and Alan Bryman
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date: 03 June 2023

p. 16110. Samplinglocked

p. 16110. Samplinglocked

  • Tom Clark, Tom ClarkLecturer in Research Methods, The University of Sheffield
  • Liam FosterLiam FosterSenior Lecturer in Social Policy & Social Work, The University of Sheffield
  •  and Alan BrymanAlan BrymanProfessor of Organizational and Social Research, Formerly of The University of Leicester


Whether the research project adopts a quantitative, qualitative, or mixed strategy, there is little point in asking a few non-random people a few non-random questions as the student has no idea what those answers might indicate, or whether they might apply in other situations. Therefore, the student needs to think carefully about his or her sampling strategy and justify this in the dissertation. This chapter explains the key principles of probability and non-probability sampling and explores why ‘who’ is asked is just as important as ‘what’ is asked. It discusses the two key stages of sampling: defining the appropriate population for study and developing strategies for recruiting the sample.

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