Designing and conducting health systems research projects: Sampling

Module 11 of a course book by the International Development Research Center (IDRC), outlines the process involved in applying different sampling techniques in research.

The Module is taken from "Designing and conducting health systems research projects. Volume 1: Proposal development and fieldwork". It starts with a flow chart that shows where sampling fits into a research proposal as well as the cyclical nature of the research process.


"At the end of the session you should be able to:

  • Identify and define the population(s) to be studied.
  • Identify and describe common options of sampling.
  • Discuss problems of bias that should be avoided when selecting a sample.
  • List the issues to consider when deciding on sample size.
  • Decide on the sampling option(s) and sample size(s) most appropriate for the research design you are developing." (IDRC 2003)


  • Introduction
  • Sampling procedures
  • Sampling options for qualitative data
  • Sampling options for quantitative data
  • Bias in sampling
  • Ethical considerations
  • Sample Size


Varkevisser, C. M., Pathmanathan, I., & Brownlee, A. (2003). Module 11: Sampling (IDRC). In DESIGNING AND CONDUCTING HEALTH SYSTEMS RESEARCH PROJECTS: VOLUME 1 Proposal Development and Fieldwork. Canada: International Development Research Center. Retrieved from

Via International Development Research Centre (IDRC) Canada

'Designing and conducting health systems research projects: Sampling' is referenced in: