Quantitative study – sample size issue

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    Does anyone have a good reference on this?


    My problem:


    I am conducting a quan study on 5 public univs in Malaysia (out of 20 public unis in total)

    Sampling frame: public higher education administrative staff and managers.

    population size: 50,000.



    Thank you.

    Shyh-Mee Tan

    I responded to your post in the quantitative methods group but seeing this here, will ask even more questions. Namely, could you tell us more about the qualitative component of your research (research question, data collection methods, how much of the study instruments will be quali, etc) and how you are combining qualitative & quantitative in your study?

    One rule of thumb in quali research is to keep sampling until you reach saturation, which is the point where you cease to gather NEW information. This leads sampling to be an iterative, open-ended endeavor, much to the ire of the funding proposal developer, project budget manager or field logistics coordinator.

    On the other hand, much quantitative data is gathered to maximize statistical significance, minimize standard errors, and ensuring “large enough” cell sizes in whatever models/with whichever variables you’re running, keeping in mind potential loss to follow-up, non-response, skip patterns or response categories you may eliminate, and other restrictions to your analytic sample.

    Both are different approaches at achieving a similar goal: to be able to say that the information you get from your data is somehow “true” of your study population and not some anomaly based on the uniqueness of the individuals selected. Either way, there is no quick an easy answer to the question “How many respondents is enough?”.


    Small matter.. what is your ‘real’ problem? Specifies your sampling type. Purposive or random or….? Should be no problem.


    Shyh-Mee Tan

    Dear all,

    Mine not actually a problem. I did stratified samplings. The number of samples that I should have are about 335 samples. The number that I should sent out is 650 samples. During my data collections, I managed to get 710 samples.

    Therefore, will there be any issues on return rates? Can I just report the number of samples that I get?


    Thanks Shyh Mee. I found that useful.


    Dr Razali,

    I am using purposive sampling.. but with 20 univ in Malaysia, I only manage to get 5 to participate in the study. Would that be sufficient?

    Data from MOHE shows that there are 50,000 non-academic staff in public Uni – so far I am using Krejecie & Morgan table – with that amount of population, sample size should be around 380.



    For now I am using the Krejecie and Morgan table to guide my number of participants that I should recruit.

    However, given the big population, just wonder is 5 out of 20 public university is reasonable for the study.



    I am studying cultural factors that affect knowlege management practices in higher education.

    The qual part is used to gather this factors from the employees perspective (using interview) , and use these result to develop the quantitative instrument that is the quustionnaire.

    I’ve completed the interview until I reach the saturation state. And now recruiting participants for the quan stage.

    I am using Krejecie and Morgan table for the quan sample size – but just wonder giving the big population of univ (20) is 5 univ enough to be included in the study.


    Shyh-Mee Tan

    Dear Dave,

    Thanks. I appreciate your comments.




    Do you think finding from 5 uni can be generealise to others uni? What is your focus point and who is your purposive respondent?


    Thanks for your good comments. I am sharing your thoughts with my students. Dr.K.Prabhakar


    Dear Dave, Greetings from India. Many times i found it difficult to teach the concept of effect size to students of business studies. Is it possible to help me? I need a simple explanation that will help students to appreciate the concept of effect size.


    read Cresswell (2002) & Bartlett, J.E; Kotrlik, J.W; Higgins, C. C.
    (2001).Organizational research: determining            appropriate
    sample size in survey research (Electronic version). Information technology       learning
    and performance   journal.
    vol. 19,No.1 spring. Retrieved 13/04/2010 at      12:05
    noon,   from http://

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