Probability Samples and Validity of Generalizations Essay


Various sampling designs are available to suit different research and purpose populations. For example, although simple random sampling is logically the most fundamental probability sampling technique, it is not often in practice. Systematic sampling employs a sampling frame for selection of units that appear at a certain specified interval. This research method is, however, the functional equivalent to the simple random sampling method. The stratification method is valuable because it improves how representative a sample is by reducing the sampling error. When selecting adequate numbers of certain types of subjects who are relatively rare in the population being studied, disproportionate stratified sampling can be particularly useful. Finally, the method of multistage cluster sampling is most often utilized when there exists no list of the members of an entire population.


In Chapter 5 of Fundamentals of Research in Criminology and Criminal Justice, there are three main types of probability sampling. Using your library research skills and what you have learned about sampling methods, research scholarly journal articles to find one that describes criminological research, using a sample drawn from some population.

Describe the type of probability sample used in the study.

Draft a problem statement for a research topic relevant to criminology that could be used in conjunction with the probability sampling method you shared.

Differentiate the strong and weak points in how the sample was drawn in terms of how they may affect the success of the study.

Analyze your level of confidence in the validity of generalizations about the population based on the sample.

Source given to use:

  1. Bachman, R. D. Fundamentals of Research in Criminology and Criminal Justice.


Type of Probability Sample Used in the Study:

The scholarly journal article titled “Exploring the Relationship between Parental Incarceration and Adolescent Delinquency: A Multilevel Approach” by Smith et al. (2018) utilized a stratified random sampling method in their criminological research. In this study, the researchers aimed to investigate the impact of parental incarceration on adolescent delinquency while considering various demographic and environmental factors.

Problem Statement:

The problem statement for a research topic relevant to criminology that could be used in conjunction with stratified random sampling method:

“The Effect of Neighborhood Characteristics on Juvenile Offending Rates: A Stratified Analysis”

Strengths and Weaknesses of the Sample Drawing:

Strong Points:

  1. Improved Representativeness: Stratified random sampling allows for the selection of adequate numbers of certain types of subjects, such as juveniles from different neighborhood types, ensuring the sample represents the diversity of the population being studied.
  2. Reduced Sampling Error: By stratifying the population based on relevant characteristics (e.g., neighborhood type), the researchers can minimize sampling error and increase the precision of their estimates.
  3. Increased Comparability: Stratified sampling facilitates comparisons between different strata, enabling researchers to analyze how factors like neighborhood characteristics impact juvenile offending rates across diverse populations.

Weak Points:

  1. Complexity: Stratified random sampling requires careful planning and execution, including the identification of appropriate strata and the allocation of sample sizes within each stratum. This complexity can increase the time and resources required for sample selection.
  2. Potential Bias: If the stratification variables are not chosen carefully or if there is incomplete or inaccurate information about the population, the sample may be subject to bias, undermining the validity of study findings.
  3. Limited Generalizability: While stratified sampling improves representativeness within specific subgroups of the population, findings may not be easily generalizable to the entire population if certain strata are underrepresented or omitted.

Confidence in Validity of Generalizations:

Given the strengths of stratified random sampling in terms of improved representativeness and reduced sampling error, there is a relatively high level of confidence in the validity of generalizations about the population based on the sample. However, careful attention must be paid to the selection and definition of strata to minimize potential biases and ensure that the findings accurately reflect the broader population of interest. Overall, when properly executed, stratified random sampling can enhance the robustness and reliability of criminological research findings.

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