Sampling refers to the collection of units, individuals or items that are to be studied. The size of a sample within a qualitative research should be large enough to provide ample opportunity to understand a given phenomenon or hypothesis. Essentially the development of a sample size is informed by the need to reduce the possibilities of failure in discovery of a given phenomenon or hypothesis (Creswell, 2003). On the other hand, quantitative research is characterized by large numbers within a sample as a means of generalizing the assumption or phenomena set out in the research. It largely focuses on a large population as compared to qualitative research that seeks to gain an in-depth understanding of a given phenomenon.
In qualitative in research the size of a sample is of less significance than in quantitative research (Vogt, 2007). This is because its subjective in nature and focuses on the population or items collected in the sample as a means of gaining information relative to a given phenomena, issue or hypothesis. In qualitative research, the collection of a sample should be extensive such that it may provide a researcher with a point of inference for generalizing a phenomenon about a given population (Punch, 2003).
The sample size within qualitative research is an issue of minimal concern given that the main concern is largely on the inference that is obtained from the sample size collected. Additionally, gaining in-depth information with respect to the sample size collected provides an important point of reference to understand the overall phenomenon in the study (Vogt, 2007). It is essential to note that the inherent differences between qualitative and quantitative research form the basis of diversity in sample sizes. Quantitative research largely focuses on numbers to generalize assumptions whereas qualitative research is entirely subjective and seeks to gain an in-depth understanding of set out hypothesis or assumptions (Vogt, 2007).
Creswell, J. W. (2003). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed method approaches. Thousand Oaks, Calif: Sage Publications.
Punch, K. (2003). Introduction to social research: Quantitative and qualitative approaches. London: SAGE Publications.
Vogt, W. P. (2007). Quantitative research methods for professionals. Boston, MA: Pearson/Allyn and Bacon.