## Convenience sampling

Convenience sampling is a type of non-probability sampling technique. Non-probability sampling focuses on sampling techniques that are based on the judgement of the researcher [see our article Non-probability sampling to learn more about non-probability sampling]. This article explains (a) what convenience sampling is and (b) the advantages and disadvantages (limitations) of convenience sampling.

#### Convenience sampling explained

Imagine that a researcher wants to understand more about the career goals of students at the University of Bath. Let?s say that the university has roughly 10,000 students. These 10,000 students are our population (N). Each of the 10,000 students is known as a unit, a case or an object (these terms are sometimes used interchangeably; we use the word unit). In order to select a sample (n) of students from this population of 10,000 students, we could choose to use a convenience sample. Let?s imagine that because we have a small budget and limited time, we choose a sample size of 100 students.

A convenience sample is simply one where the units that are selected for inclusion in the sample are the easiest to access. This is in stark contrast to probability sampling techniques, where the selection of units is made randomly. In our example of the 10,000 university students, we were only interested in achieving a sample size of 100 students who would take part in our research. As such, we would continue to invite students to take part in the research until our sample size was reached. Since the aim of convenience sampling is easy access, we may simply choose to stand at one of the main entrances to campus of the University of Bath where it would be easy to invite the many students that pass by to take part in the research.

#### Advantages of convenience sampling

• Convenience sampling is vey easy to carry out with few rules governing how the sample should be collected.

• The relative cost and time required to carry out a convenience sample are small in comparison to probability sampling techniques. This enables you to achieve the sample size you want in a relatively fast and inexpensive way.