Sampling theory is a method of acquiring “a sample that accurately reflects the population under study.” The population is the main concept the theory; it may include target populations, accessible population, and just general populations. Other concepts include sampling/eligibility criteria, representativeness, sampling frames or sampling methods or plans. Sampling theory, in contrast to sample, defines the selection process. A sample defines the group. A sample plan or is not specific to a certain study, and it may include sampling methods that are random or nonrandom  (Grove, Gray, & Burns, 2015). Utilizing this method includes reducing costs, obtaining results quicker, having a greater scope, and obtaining results that are more accurate. Researchers are able to focus on a certain population and not waste their funds and time on populations that will not be pertinent to the study. There is also a greater scope, because the data is more targeted. It is impossible and impractical to obtain results from an entire population. One example of sampling theory would be for patients who had a foley catheter during their hospital stay and their rate of UTIs. For the results to be accurate, it is important for only those who had a foley in place to be included in the surveying (FAO, n.d.). Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. (n.d.) Retrieved from Grove, S., Gray, J., Burns, N. (2015). . [Pageburstl]. Retrieved from

Sampling theory is a fundamental concept in research methodology that involves selecting a subset of individuals or units from a larger population to study. The goal is to obtain a sample that accurately reflects the characteristics of the population under investigation (Grove, Gray, & Burns, 2015). This allows researchers to draw valid conclusions about the population based on the data collected from the sample.

The term “population” in sampling theory refers to the group of individuals or units that the researcher wants to study. It can encompass various types of populations, including target populations, accessible populations, and general populations. The target population is the specific group of individuals that the researcher is interested in, while the accessible population is the portion of the target population that is accessible for study. The general population refers to the larger group from which the target population is drawn. This distinction is important in sampling theory as it helps to define the scope and boundaries of the study.

In addition to the population, other key concepts in sampling theory include sampling or eligibility criteria, representativeness, and sampling frames or methods. The sampling criteria are the specific characteristics or criteria that individuals or units must possess in order to be included in the sample. These criteria are typically defined based on the research questions or objectives of the study. Representativeness refers to the extent to which the sample accurately represents the population in terms of key characteristics. It is essential for the sample to be representative in order to generalize the findings to the larger population. Lastly, sampling frames or methods refer to the procedures used to select the sample. These can include random sampling methods, such as simple random sampling or stratified random sampling, or nonrandom sampling methods, such as convenience sampling or purposive sampling.

The use of sampling theory in research offers several advantages. First, it helps to reduce costs and save resources. Conducting research on an entire population can be time-consuming and expensive. Sampling allows researchers to focus their efforts and resources on a smaller subset of individuals, thus making the study more feasible and efficient. Second, sampling enables researchers to obtain results more quickly. By studying a sample, researchers can collect data in a shorter period of time compared to studying an entire population. This can be particularly important in time-sensitive studies or when immediate results are needed. Third, sampling increases the scope of the study. By focusing on a specific sample, researchers can obtain more targeted and relevant data. This enhances the precision and depth of the study findings.

Let us consider an example to illustrate the application of sampling theory in a healthcare setting. Suppose a researcher wants to investigate the rate of urinary tract infections (UTIs) among patients who had a foley catheter inserted during their hospital stay. In order to obtain accurate and representative results, it is crucial to include only those individuals who had a foley catheter in place. By using sampling theory, the researcher can develop a sampling plan that ensures that only eligible patients are included in the study. This helps to reduce bias and improve the validity of the findings.

In conclusion, sampling theory is a vital concept in research methodology that allows researchers to obtain valid and generalizable results from a smaller subset of individuals or units. It involves selecting a sample that accurately reflects the population under investigation and requires careful consideration of sampling criteria, representativeness, and sampling frames or methods. The use of sampling theory offers several advantages, including cost reduction, quicker results, increased scope, and enhanced accuracy. It is an essential tool for researchers to obtain meaningful insights and draw meaningful conclusions about the larger population they are studying.