Finding a sample

The following activity is a way to get students to think about how to choose a sample.  There are two components of the activity - first, to have students imagine what a sample would look like if chosen using a certain technique for a specific research question.  Second, students reflect on the strengths and limitations of the sampling techniques.

The activity is explained below and the materials are attached.

  Sampling cards

  Sampling scenarios powerpoint

The task

I have students sit in groups of four to five - and I put a hat (or box) in the middle of the table.

There is a deck of eight cards on the table that is face-down.  The students take turns turning over a card that has a research scenario.  The same student then pulls a card out of the hat which has a sampling technique.

The student then has to explain how they would collect that type of sample for that research scenario.  The rest of the group then gives the student feedback on the quality of the response and discusses whether this was a good "match-up" of a question and a technique. 


The following scenarios make up the "cards" that are put on the table.  Below you will find a file that will allow you to copy and cut them up.  An alternative is to show the scenario and then have each table pull out a card out of the hat to discuss at their table.  A powerpoint with the scenarios is also attached.

  1.  A study of how former drug addicts deal with stress.
  2.  A study of how students spend their free time.
  3.  A study of how athletes cope with injury.
  4.  An experiment to see if hard rock music affects one's ability to read and comprehend a text.
  5.  A study of depression in people who are severely obese.
  6. A study to see the effect of owning a pet on one's ability to take risks.
  7. A study to see if going to a gym on a regular basis improves one's love life.
  8. A study to see if high levels of tourism increase local people's tolerance for foreigners.
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