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]]>Combating a lack of progress due to losing motivation during the dissertation process can be easily done with a few simple habits. The first habit to adopt is identifying your most productive time of day for writing. When are you most creative? Once you have identified the most effective time of day to write, make it a point to free write at least 15-minutes each day. Before you know it, writing will be second nature and you will have a draft to submit.

Every now and then, you will come across a chair or committee member that is not as engaged as you would like. Too often, we hear from clients that they are unable to make speedy progress due to the gaps in communication between them and their committee members. Another week or month waiting for feedback could cost you a whole semester of time and another tuition bill. To fight these external delays, keep an open and consistent stream of communication with your advisors, even when on summer and winter breaks and do not be afraid to reach out via email and phone. Your progress is important, make sure all of your team members are working hard for your success.

The literature review, methodology chapter, and results chapters are often the most difficult chapters and greatly hinder dissertation progress. If you have spent more than two weeks on the same chapter or trying to address the same feedback, without making progress, look for resources. Your university most likely has a heap of resources that you already pay for in your tuition. The writing center, librarians, and the university’s journal subscriptions are some that you should begin using right away. If you feel more comfortable with one-on-one guidance through these demanding chapters, dissertation consulting is available privately.

Make this fall semester your absolute best (and hopefully LAST) one yet!

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]]>The post What is the difference between probability and non-probability sampling? appeared first on Statistics Solutions.

]]>The first type of sampling is probability sampling, which will always involve some sort of “random” or “probabilistic” process to select participants. The various forms of random sampling (including simple random sampling and stratified random sampling) are probability sampling techniques. In the most basic form of probability sampling (i.e., a simple random sample), every member of the population has an equal chance of being selected into the study. The participants selected for the study would be determined through some kind of “random” process, such as assigning a number to every member of the population and picking the numbers out of a hat, or using a table of randomly generated numbers. More complex forms of probability sampling (such as stratified random sampling) involve randomly selecting individuals from subgroups of the population to ensure those groups are appropriately represented in the study sample.

In any case, the goal of probability sampling is to obtain a sample that is representative of the population of interest, so that the results of the study may be generalized to the population. This makes probability sampling an ideal choice for quantitative studies in which the goal is to use statistical analysis to draw conclusions about the population. Probability sampling may be less appropriate for qualitative studies in which the goal is to describe a very specific group of people and generalizing the results to a larger population is not the focus of the study.

Non-probability sampling, on the other hand, does not involve “random” processes for selecting participants. In non-probability sampling, the members of the population will not have an equal chance of being selected, and in many cases, there will be members of the population who have no chance of being selected. For example, if your population of interest is college professors but you only invite professors from your school to participate, this would be a non-probability sample because professors from other colleges have no chance to participate. This method of convenience sampling, which involves selecting only participants who are readily accessible, is one of the most common types of non-probability sampling. Keep in mind that any procedure that does not involve random selection from the population by the researcher, or involves self-selection of participants, would be considered a non-probability sampling method. Even the use of online survey hosting services (such as SurveyMonkey or Qualtrics) may be considered non-probability sampling, as their participant pools may not include every member of the population, or they may not use random processes to select participants for you.

Non-probability sampling is not ideal for quantitative research because results from non-probability samples cannot be generalized to the larger population as confidently compared to probability samples. However, non-probability sampling is often used in quantitative research because probability sampling is not always feasible. Going back to the college professor example, it may not be possible for you to select a random sample from all possible college professors in the general population. You likely would not be able to compile a list of every single college professor in the population with their contact information. In these cases, quantitative researchers may resort to convenience sampling. On the other hand, non-probability sampling is well-suited for many types of qualitative research. This is because qualitative research is not always concerned with generalizing the results to a larger population. Qualitative researchers often use purposive sampling, a non-probability sampling technique in which the researcher chooses participants because they have specific expertise or insight regarding the phenomenon of interest.

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]]>You might think of credibility in qualitative research as similar to internal validity in quantitative research. What this means is that your data are representative of your participants and their experiences. Member checking is a popular technique to establish credibility, whereby participants provide feedback on the data analysis and interpretations to verify accuracy. Participants may also verify their transcripts for accuracy prior to data analysis.

Transferability means that the methods and findings can be applied to other studies in other contexts. To do this, you will want to explicitly detail your sample, your participants, your methods, and the setting of your research in your methods chapter. You want a future researcher to be able to replicate your study using the exact participant demographics that you did, for example, or using an entirely different research site.

Writing your methods chapter in explicit detail also establishes the dependability of the chapter. This means that a future researcher can follow along with all of the decisions you made related to your research study, and also understand why you made those decisions. Think of writing this as a recipe for someone else to follow. A recipe has two parts: the ingredients and the instructions. You want to include both in your methods chapter. Another approach to establishing dependability would be bringing another researcher into the process of data analysis.

When credibility, transferability, and dependability are established, confirmability is also established. There are, however, other ways to also enhance confirmability of a study. One way that can be helpful is to maintain a reflexive journal or research log. In it, you can record and reflect on your thoughts about the research, ideas you have, preconceptions, biases, or anything else that might impact the objectivity of your research. This is a critical component of bracketing or epoche too, if your study is phenomenological.

As you can see, there is a buffet of methods to choose from to establish trustworthiness in qualitative research. Several methods can establish more than one tenet of trustworthiness. Just as you clearly articulate your research design and methods, you want to do the same for trustworthiness. Starting with credibility (or whichever tenet you would like), provide a brief definition of that tenet and then explain how you will/did establish that in your study. Doing this will help your reviewers and readers recognize the accuracy of your research.

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