Sampling Theory and Generalizability Essay

Sampling Theory and Generalizability Essay






What is Generalizability in Research? - Helping Research writing for  student & professional researchers

Sampling Theory and Generalizability

            In nursing, sampling theory emerged from survey research and identified the most effective ways of obtaining a sample that reflects the population under study. Sampling theory is a mathematical concept borrowed to help nurses acquire a sample of the accessible population. It helps nurses generalize the sample’s findings to the accessible population and more abstractly to the targeted population (Gray et al., 2013, p.351). Sampling theory is crucial because studying an entire population is not feasible. Hence, nurses use samples to provide valid estimates of the population characteristics under study.

The inception of generalizability helped nurses apply their research findings in informing clinical decisions. In evidence-based practice, the primary goal of nurses is to assess and inform patient’s prognosis and guide the treatment decisions. Hence, some findings might not be generalizable for specific patients even though the patient comprise the population of interest. The representativeness of a population is vital in understating generalizability in nursing research. Sample representativeness involves examining clinical data, summarizing sample characteristics, and understanding the inclusion and exclusion criteria (Kamper, 2020). In other words, generalizability is a continuum concept and not a dichotomy. Hence, generalizability helps nurses avoid being overly dogmatic in interpreting their findings and identifying the best tenet of evidence-based practice.


Gray, J., Grove, S., & Burns, N. (2013). The Practice of Nursing Research: Appraisal, Synthesis, and Generation of Evidence. Elsevier Health Sciences.

Kamper, S. (2020). Generalizability: Linking Evidence to Practice. Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy50(1), 45-46.

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