On Oct. 27, Dr. Lynne Baker of the School of Arts & Sciences, was the facilitator of the third Graduate Seminar for the Fall 2017 semester.
Dr. Baker’s presentation was on “Basic Concepts in Sampling Design.” She noted that sampling is a critical part of study design in research.
Explaining the term, she said sampling involves determining how you choose your sources and how many sources you need. She noted that researchers often must conduct surveys because their population of interest is too large to complete a census of the whole population.
“How well you can generalize your findings to the larger population of interest depends largely on your sampling approach and sample size.”
She added that a study’s aims and objectives must be clearly defined before considering how one will sample.
During the presentation, she discussed the basic concepts in sampling design, including types of sampling, such as non-probability and probability sampling; approaches; and sample size. Also discussed were steps involved in ensuring a study’s sample is representative of the larger population of interest.
Dr. Baker maintained that in order to reduce sampling error in research, it is often necessary to increase sample size. However, sample size, she maintained, is also usually limited by available resources, such as time and money.
To convey clearly how to reduce sampling error, she gave an example using sample size, margin of error, and confidence level. Dr. Baker illustrated how changes in these factors may affect the reliability of the data obtained.
The graduate seminars are held fortnightly.
Stressing their importance, Dean of the School of Graduate Studies, Dr. Charles Nche, said such seminars supplement what the students learn from the classroom.
Dr. Lynne Baker earned a PhD in Conservation Biology from the University of Minnesota (USA). She has several years of experience designing and conducting quantitative and qualitative research.
Dr. Baker is presently a faculty member in the NES Department where she teaches research methods and oversees undergraduate students’ senior research projects.
By Omorogbe Omorogiuwa