Using innovative sampling methods to understand family demographic trends

February 14, 2019, The City University of New York
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

Trends in family demography in the United States and other industrialized nations such as declining and delayed marriage and childbearing have, until recently, been predominantly studied using large-scale datasets identifying total population and subgroup trends over time, including differences by age, gender, racial/ethnic, and other characteristics. There is limited understanding of how individuals across different levels of social position, for example, make decisions around forming families. This lack of qualitative data has prevented researchers from completely understanding the factors driving these large-scale demographic trends.

To address this, CUNY SPH Associate Professor Diana Romero and DPH alum Dr. Amy Kwan developed a methodologic approach to sampling and field-based for the Social Position and Family Formation (SPAFF) project, a large-scale in-depth interview study of factors influencing different aspects of formation among heterosexual females and males in the context of individuals' social position. The study was supported by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and published in the journal PLOS One.

The quantitatively-informed, purposive sampling approach the researchers employed went beyond common purposive sampling approaches for qualitative data collection that typically do not consider the underlying distribution of key population characteristics, Romero says.

"We hope that qualitative researchers will find the sampling technique we developed to recruit individuals in the NYC an advancement over purposive sampling that generally does not examine the underlying population, geographic or organizational units to attempt to achieve similar distributional patterns on key characteristics."

Explore further: Monitoring species: Are we looking long enough?

More information: Diana Romero et al. Methodologic approach to sampling and field-based data collection for a large-scale in-depth interview study: The Social Position and Family Formation (SPAFF) project, PLOS ONE (2019). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0210776

Related Stories

Monitoring species: Are we looking long enough?

December 5, 2018

The conservation of animals relies heavily on estimates of their numbers. Without knowing how many individuals there are, it is impossible to know whether a population is thriving or dying out—and whether conservation efforts ...

Ecologists create a new model to predict extinction risk

January 25, 2019

A new population viability model, with an accompanying web app, is helping scientists to better forecast population changes and extinction risk for imperiled species. The method was developed by ecologists at the University ...

Contrary to government report, orangutans continue to decline

November 5, 2018

A recent report by the Government of Indonesia claiming an increase in orangutan populations of more than 10 percent from 2015 to 2017 is at odds with many recently published and peer-reviewed scientific studies on the subject, ...

Recommended for you

A decade on, smartphone-like software finally heads to space

March 20, 2019

Once a traditional satellite is launched into space, its physical hardware and computer software stay mostly immutable for the rest of its existence as it orbits the Earth, even as the technology it serves on the ground continues ...

Tiny 'water bears' can teach us about survival

March 20, 2019

Earth's ultimate survivors can weather extreme heat, cold, radiation and even the vacuum of space. Now the U.S. military hopes these tiny critters called tardigrades can teach us about true toughness.

Researchers find hidden proteins in bacteria

March 20, 2019

Scientists at the University of Illinois at Chicago have developed a way to identify the beginning of every gene—known as a translation start site or a start codon—in bacterial cell DNA with a single experiment and, through ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.