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Purposive sampling: An overview
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Purposive sampling, also known as judgmental, selective or subjective sampling, is a type of non-probability sampling technique. Non-probability sampling focuses on sampling techniques where the units that are investigated are based on the judgement of the researcher [see our articles: Non-probability sampling explained to learn more about non-probability sampling, and Sampling: The basics, for an introduction to terms such as units, cases, and sampling]. There are a number of different types of purposive sampling, each with different goals. This article explains (a) what purposive sampling is, (b) seven of the different types of purposive sampling, and (c) the broad advantages and disadvantages of purposive sampling.

Purposive sampling explained
Types of purposive sample
Advantages and disadvantages of purposive sampling
Purposive sampling explained

Purposive sampling represents a group of different non-probability sampling techniques. Also known as judgmental, selective or subjective sampling, purposive sampling relies on the judgement of the researcher when it comes to selecting the units (e.g. people, cases/organisations, events, pieces of data) that are to be studied. Usually, the sample being investigated is quite small, especially when compared with probability sampling techniques.

Unlike the various sampling techniques that can be used under probability sampling (e.g. simple random sampling, stratified random sampling, etc.), the goal of purposive sampling is not to randomly select units from a population to create a sample with the intention of making generalisations (i.e. statistical inferences) from that sample to the population of interest [see the article: Probability sampling explained]. This is the general intent of research that is guided by a quantitative research design [see...
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