Ethics and sampling of CBPR

I will start my blog by talking about ethics in Community-based participatory research. In our case, we will be doing research in The Tiny Children’s Garden. Wait for a second if you haven’t heard about our garden yet. I encourage you to check out the link below to know more about our community garden.

As a part of our research question and Ms. Davis’ goal is to answer the question “How to secure fresh vegetables and fruits for the community at Washington Park in East St. Louis?”. And also, as a part of our Community-based participatory research, we will need to conduct a survey. I will talk about my personal experience in preparing my survey at the university. The first step is to have your research question ready and start writing the survey questions that you want to ask your target audience. In my case, I am doing research on the recycling behaviors of Saudi Arabian households. My target audience is females who are performing or responsible for recycling household-generated waste. The second step, a critical step, in my opinion, is to complete an institutional review board (IRBs) and prove that my survey will not harm my target audience. There are many stages in doing this step by answering IRBs questions such as, describing all the risks that can harm participants and how to minimize them. Questions include explaining how you are distributing the survey, ensuring the anonymity of your participants’ identities, and what measurement you will take to secure their personal information…etc.

One of IRB’s protocol requirements for ensuring that you have completed your participant’s research notification which is to make sure that participants agree to take your survey and letting them know of any harmful risks they might face. The third step is waiting for your desired number of participants to complete your survey and then starting to analyze your results. You might be wondering about Harm! What possible harms will I face answering a survey? According to Alan Bryman, “Harm can entail a number of facets: physical harm; harm to participants’ development; loss of self-esteem; stress; and ‘inducing subjects to perform reprehensible acts’, as Diener and Crandall (1978: 19)” (Bryman & Bell, 2019)

William Iven

So now, let’s assume we have our questions ready, and we got our IRBs protocol approved. We know our target audience, which we call the sample frame. The sample frame in our research is the Washington Park community. To make our survey realistic, we will need to select a smaller group from the sample frame. It will be hard to ask every person living in Washington Park. Our sample can be based on either probability or non-probability approaches. Probability sampling means selecting our sample randomly so that every participant in the population has the chance to participate, such as race, age, gender..etc. On the other hand, non-probability sampling is the opposite of probability sampling, which means choosing specific participants; for example, Hispanic females form the age of 18 to 50. (Bryman & Bell, 2019)


Now we know what type of sampling are we going to use. But how many participants should we ask?  Is it the more the participants, the more valuable our research is going to be?

In order to decide our sample size, we need to consider some factors such as sampling precision (the larger our sample is the less sampling errors we will face), accepted sampling error, our research variables, time and, cost. (Bryman & Bell, 2019)



Questions for consideration: 

  •  What are the ethical challenges we might face when conducting a survey in the Washington Park community garden?
  • What is the purpose of sampling the community at The Washington Park in East St. Louis?
  • Do you think that we need to do a probability or non-probability sampling? Explain why.
  • Do you think there is a specific target audience we need to focus on such as kids, moms, seniors?
  • From your experience in doing surveys, how have you dealt with your sampling errors?


Bryman, A., & Bell, E. (2019). Social research methods. Don Mills, Ontario, Canada: Oxford University Press.




  • Nikolle

    To answer your question about why we should sample the community of Washington Park, I think the answer is very clear. We are wanting to find out how this community is responding to the garden. Which I think is the most important thing. It would be very easy to send out a survey to SIUE, for example, to ask their opinion on the garden but that would make no sense. Our project is focused on the community of Washington Park so we would want to get our feedback from the community the park would be affecting.

  • Suprasanna Aryal

    “Do you think there is a specific target audience we need to focus on such as kids, moms, seniors?”

    I think we should be comprehensive because we want all members of the community to be involved with the garden, irrespective of their age. Getting perspectives of members of different age groups and occupations would make our survey holistic.

  • Arieanna Morris

    First of all, I love the office, so thank you for making me laugh. I have not done a survey before. Although, I do have experience with sampling. I would suggest using a type of nonprobability sampling such as convenience and snowball sampling. I think it would be best to talk to people who live near the garden and the people who help clean up the site for the garden.

  • Rachel Green

    I also think that we should use a type of non-probability sampling. I think that purposive sampling would be perfect for the Washington Park project and the most beneficial type of non-probability sampling. This type of sampling would allow us to choose our sample based on specific characteristics of the chosen population, the Washington Park Community, that we feel will be most beneficial to the project. We will identify these characteristics that we feel will be the most beneficial to the project based upon the objectives of the project.

  • Danielle Kulina

    I do not think there is a specific target audience we need to focus on. All of the ages of members are still apart of the community as a whole. I think it is super important to get sampling from all ages. Young kids are going to be the ones who hopefully will continue this garden for future generations so it is important to see how they feel about it. I have no done a survey yet, but will soon be sending out a community survey. I am looking forward to seeing how this will relate to what we have learned about from this project.

  • Hayley Winker

    For this project, I do not think that we have a specific target audience that we should be focusing on. I think that this is such a tight knit community that we should be focusing on everyone from kids to seniors. If we get input from all types of members of the community it will give us a better scope. Since we want to look at a large range of the population, I think for this project the best option of sampling with be a form of non-probability sampling.

  • Amy Yates

    Conducting surveys in Washington Park may produce some ethical issues that other surveys may not. Residents of Washington Park and East St. Louis have had lots of people and surveyors collect data on them. It will be important for us to make sure that we are clear about what we are trying to do in the community and not to make promises or allude to commitments that we don’t know for sure we will be able to follow through on. This could lead to the residents in these communities becoming less trusting of students, and outsiders coming in a collecting information.
    Sampling is important because it is difficult to collect responses from every resident. I don’t think there should be a target audience because by focusing on one demographic or age group in the community, we could be missing out on valuable insight the other groups could offer.

  • Breanne

    In terms of your question, I think we need to focus on the entire community, as every voice is valuable with feedback to continue moving forward on working with Derissa for this project. Sampling would be great for us as though every voice needs to be heard and is important, we cannot possibly talk to everyone in the community, hence non-probability sampling within Washington Park.

  • Scott Antrobus

    What should our target audience be? I think this is a question that deserves special attention. Of course we are trying to enrich the experiences of the entire community, but how can we ensure our work is continued? When I consider this I find myself thinking of young people. This garden can serve as a launch point to motivate young people to stay in their community after they finish school. I also like to imagine this garden as being a draw to potential new residents.

  • liaguir

    To answer your question; “Do you think there is a specific target audience we need to focus on such as kids, moms, seniors?”
    As of now, no; the project has begun and it would be great to learn about everything and anything the community members are willing to tell us and future classes/students. This way we can start a foundation of what issues the members of Washington Park are facing, what are some concerns should be prioritized, and to build trust with them so that we can feel welcomed in that community.

    I believe that once we have established a connection with the community and have gotten as much information from the Washington Park members, then we can start asking certain groups of people (based on age, gender, social status, etc.) By collecting information from certain groups of people, this can benefit the garden (once up and running)by focusing on what people have suggested. Not only that, this will raise awareness of unknown concerns and see if there are other possibilities of helping overcome them.