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Section 2

Developing the Qualitative Research Design

There are various qualitative designs: case study, action research, ethnography, evaluative, interpretive description, grounded theory, narrative, phenomenology, and photovoice/visual.

Qualitative Research: Target Population, Sampling Frame, and Sample

The target population is the population that the sample will be drawn from. It is all individuals who possess the desired characteristics (inclusion criteria) to participate in the doctoral project or dissertation-in-practice.

The sampling design represents the plan for obtaining a sample from the target population. A sampling frame can be employed to identify participants and can provide access to the population for recruitment of the sample.

To identify all individuals in the doctoral project or dissertation-in-practice population a sampling frame is identified and provides access to the population for recruitment of sample. Review Trochim's Knowledge Base at for more information. 

Exercise #1

Use the script below by replacing the italicized text with the appropriate information to state the study population.

"The study population for the proposed study is comprised of all (individuals with relevant characteristics), within (describe the sampling frame)."  

The study sample is a subset of the target population, which possesses the appropriate characteristics for the proposed study. Potential participants are then screened based on inclusion/exclusion criteria, and if met are then recruited into the sample. Review Trochim's Knowledge Base at for more information.

Exercise #2

Use the script below to state the sample.

"(sampling method) will be used to obtain (sample number) participants that meet the following inclusion criteria (list relevant characteristics needed to participate)."