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The temptation to form premature theories upon insufficient data is the bane of our profession.
—Sherlock Holmes (from The Valley of Fear, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle)
Sherlock Holmes, the great fictional logician, may have made this reprimand in reference to the science of criminal investigation, but the underlying principle holds true for all branches of research. Now that you have identified a research problem and developed hypotheses, the next step is to identify your sample and begin gathering data that will answer your research questions. The process of sampling to gather data is a crucial step in the research process in that you must be sure that the instruments and sample population mesh well with the study’s goals and objectives so that they will produce valid and reliable results.
For this Discussion, you identify a target population and sample appropriate for addressing the research problem you formulated in the Week 2 Discussion.
To prepare:
Review this week’s media presentation and consider Dr. Pothoff’s comments on sampling.
Recall the research problem, question, and hypothesis you developed in Week 2’s Discussion which is about Medical errors and ethical issues. With this in mind, ask yourself: What population is most relevant, and accessible, for exploring my research problem?
Consider how you could reach this target population to gather data. What are some challenges you might encounter?
Determine a data collection approach for your target population. Develop an informed rationale for selecting that approach.
Write a cohesive response that addresses the following questions:
What are the researchable populations in your area of practice? Which would be most appropriate for use in your research study?
What are the challenges of obtaining a sample from this population? How could you address those challenges?
What approach would you use to collect data from the sample? Provide a rationale for the approach you choose based on this week’s Learning Resources.
Course Text: The Practice of Nursing Research: Appraisal, Synthesis, and Generation of Evidence
Chapter 15, “Sampling”
Chapter 15 introduces key concepts and components of sampling theory and the sampling process. The chapter discusses several important sampling considerations, including target population, hypothetical population, accessible population, elements, subjects, participants, and generalizability of research findings based on sampling methods.
Chapter 20, “Collecting and Managing Data”
Chapter 20 explains how data collection is an integral part of research and presents methods for collecting and managing data.
Article: Corrigan, P. W., Tsang, H. H., Shi, K., Lam, C. S., & Larson, J. (2010). Chinese and American employers’ perspectives regarding hiring people with behaviorally driven health conditions: The role of stigma. Social Science & Medicine, 71(12), 2162–2169. doi:10.1016/j.socscimed.2010.08.025
Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.
This article discusses a mixed-method study of the work opportunities for people with behaviorally driven health conditions such as HIV/AIDS and drug and alcohol abuse. The article describes the results of qualitative interviews and quantitative surveys of employers in China and the United States in an effort to analyze employer perspectives, stigma, and the possibility for stigma change.
Article: Williams, H., Harris, R., & Turner-Strokes, L. (2009). Work sampling: A quantitative analysis of nursing activity in a neuro-rehabilitation setting. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 65(10), 2097–2107.
Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.
This article describes a quantitative research study on the amount of time nurses spend on direct patient care in a neuro-rehabilitation setting. The article offers suggestions for future studies that focus on work sampling and discusses how staffing requirement estimates should consider indirect care and non-patient activities in addition to direct patient care needs.
Optional Resources
Book Chapter: Fawcett, J., & Garity, J. (2009). Evaluation of samples. In Evaluating research for evidence-based nursing (pp. 91–131). Philadelphia, PA: F. A. Davis. Retrieved from
Tutorial: Walden University. (n.d.). Collecting quantitative data. Retrieved August 1, 2011, from http://streaming.waldenu.edu/hdp/researchtutorials/educ8106_player/educ8106_collecting_quantative_data.html

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