Research Methods for the study of religion

An online training resource


Conducting effective research involves being clear about how we have selected people or other sources to provide the data for our project, as well as why we have chosen to do it in this way. Our sampling decisions have an important bearing on the kind of knowledge-claims we make about our work, as well as how we think about its wider significance.

Gordon Lynch explores different approaches to sampling for quantitative and qualitative research, as well as the implications of these for the kind of knowledge associated with these approaches.


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Key Reading

Alan Bryman (2008) Social Research Methods. 3rd edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp.164-190.

This chapter provides a helpful, clear overview of different concepts and issues in sampling.

Janet Ward Schofield (2002) ‘Increasing the generalizability of qualitative research’, in (eds.) M. Miles and M. Huberman, The Qualitative Researcher’s Companion, London: Sage, pp.171-204.

A useful perspective on what generalizability might mean in the context of qualitative research, and the implications of this for sampling approaches.


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Last Updated: 07/09/2011