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Sampling Methods in Evaluating Research

It is true that for researchers, the use of sampling techniques in statistical testing is critical. For example, the concept of probability or nonprobability sampling can be used to form a group of participants. Smallidge et al. (2018) used a quantitative cross-sectional approach to assess licensed dental hygienists’ awareness gathered through nonprobability sampling. Thus, the target population was professional dental hygienists, but the general population was Maine residents. Specifically, an invitation to participate in the study was sent to each of the professionals from a pre-prepared list of the target population (physicians with licenses in the local community). Within three weeks, 268 (21%) of the 1,284 questionnaires were collected, and the results were processed with both descriptive statistics and thematic analysis. I think this is an acceptable research method, but the percentage of those who participated seems to be relatively small compared to the target population.

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In contrast, a recent study by Comassetto et al. (2021) assessed the need for dental care for homeless people: a probability sampling method was used. More specifically, out of 242 homeless people, 214 (88.4%) consented to participate in a survey and oral dental examination. Participants were randomly selected, but the selection was based on two inclusion criteria. The homeless community was the target population, but only local residents of the city of Porto Alegre were available for the study: the predominant majority of the sample was male. The results were processed using chi-square, t- and Mann-Whitney tests. This is an excellent study, using the right methodology and showing a high response rate.

The IRB represents a particular area of research ethics that provides equality and social protection for trial participants. In other words, because of the Board’s existence, subjects are not expected to experience discrimination or disadvantage. Of the two studies, only Smallidge et al. (2018) received IRB approval: IRB102815S.


Comassetto, M. O., Hugo, F. N., Neves, M., & Hilgert, J. B. (2021). Dental pain in homeless adults in Porto Alegre, Brazil. International Dental Journal, 1-8.

Smallidge, D., Boyd, L. D., Rainchuso, L., Giblin-Scanlon, L. J., & LoPresti, L. (2018). Interest in dental hygiene therapy: A study of dental hygienists in Maine. American Dental Hygienists’ Association, 92(3), 6-13.

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