The Role of Sampling in Mixed Methods-Research: Enhancing Inference Quality

Anthony J. Onwuegbuzie, Kathleen M.T. Collins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


The purpose of this article is to emphasize the importance of sampling in all mixed methods research studies. Effective meaning making in mixed methods research studies is very much dependent on the quality of inferences that emerge, which, in turn, is dependent on the quality of the underlying sampling design. Further, these inferences are only of a quality nature if interpretive consistency occurs, which represents the justifiableness of the type of generalization made, given the sampling design. In an earlier work, we identified six sampling-based considerations that all mixed methods researchers should make at the four broad stages (i. e., research conceptualization, research planning, research implementation, and research dissemination stages) of the mixed methods research process: emtic orientation, probabilistic orientation, abductive orientation, intrinsic versus instrumental orientation, particularistic versus universalistic orientation, and philosophical clarity. Building on this six-element framework, we outline how focusing on sampling considerations at the four stages of the mixed methods research process, which includes the dissemination stage of reporting the mixed methods research findings to stakeholders, enhances significantly the process of meaning making. We believe that addressing these sampling considerations at each of these stages will increase the likelihood that the mixed methods researcher will uphold interpretive consistency during the meaning-making process.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)133-156
Number of pages24
JournalKolner Zeitschrift fur Soziologie und Sozialpsychologie
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Inference
  • Inference quality
  • Methods of social research
  • Mixed methods
  • Purposeful sampling
  • Purposive sampling
  • Qualitative methods
  • Quantitative methods
  • Random sampling
  • Sampling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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