SAGE Journal Articles

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Journal Article Link 5.1: Hultsch, D. F., MacDonald, S. W., Hunter, M. A., Maitland, S. B., & Dixon, R. A. (2002). Sampling and generalisability in developmental research: Comparison of random and convenience samples of older adults. International Journal of Behavioral Development26(4), 345–359.

Abstract: Research in the developmental sciences is based largely on samples of convenience rather than samples drawn at random from the population. The important question of whether results observed in samples of convenience generalise to the larger population has not been studied directly. Because of demographic growth in the proportion of older adults in the population and increases in diversity across the lifespan, it is especially important to address this issue in aging adults. We compared the performance of older adults (65–100 years) on demographic and psychological measures for a random sample of community dwelling adults and two samples of convenience. Significant differences were observed on less than half the variables. When differences were present, participants in the convenience samples were advantaged compared to participants from the random sample. Differences were larger in some domains than others but remained small to moderate in magnitude. There were minimal differences in between-person variability and patterns of correlations among variables between the convenience and random samples. Results indicate the need for additional studies contrasting random and convenience samples to explore the parameters of external validity in psychological aging research.

  1. What is the difference between convenience sampling and random sampling?
  2. Why does research often use convenience sampling?
  3. What were the main findings of the article?
  4. Given the findings, what are advantages and disadvantages of convenience sampling?

Journal Article Link 5.2: Cross, J. E., Zimmerman, D., & O'Grady, M. A. (2009). Residence hall room type and alcohol use among college students living on campusEnvironment and Behavior41(4), 583–603.

Abstract: The objectives were to explore the relation between the built environment of residence halls and the alcohol use of college students living on campus from the perspective of the theory of routine activity. This exploratory study examined data from two samples on one college campus. Online surveys assessed alcohol use, attitudes toward alcohol use, perceptions of campus alcohol norms, and individual factors (i.e., gender). Data came from an Alcohol Norms Survey using a random sample (N = 440) and a Resident Assessment Survey using a random sample (N = 531) in 2006 and 2007. After controlling for other drinking behavior predictors (attitudes, gender, high school drinking, and perceptions of peer drinking), regression analysis showed that students living in suite halls had a higher odds of drinking more frequently, drinking more alcohol when they socialize, heavy episodic drinking, and drinking more often in their residence halls.

  1. Who was the target population in the study?
  2. Who was accessible for the study?
  3. What methods of sampling did the researchers employ?
  4. What biases in sampling did you identify?
  5. How could the biases be minimized?