In this paper the concepts of general, target and accessible population are explained in response to misconceptions and controversies associated with them, and the fact that the relationships between them have not been explained in the context of qualitative enquiry in any formal study. These concepts are discussed in this study based on a general scenario. We basically attempt to explain the importance of specifying the general, target and accessible populations in a qualitative study when the study population is large. The study depicts how the research goal, contexts and assumptions can dictate the content and concentration of the target and accessible population in qualitative inquiry. It also poses the sampling implications of our explanations and highlights the stages and levels of what we refer to as population refinement.


General Population, Target Population, Accessible Population, Sampling, Population Refinement

Author Bio(s)

Nestor Asiamah is a researcher in the area of public health and is the Director of Research at Transition Africa, a non-Government organization that seeks to promote leadership and sustainable governance in Africa. He is committed to using research to contribute to the improvement of community health, especially in developing countries. He is currently preparing to enroll in a PhD (Public Health) program. Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: nestor.asiamah@yahoo.com.

Henry Kofi Mensah, PhD is a Lecturer in management at the School of Business at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science & Technology (KNUST), Kumasi-Ghana. His research interest is in Social Responsibility, Employee Development, Sustainability and Green Business. Correspondence regarding this article can also be addressed directly to: hkmensah@knust.edu.gh.

Eric Fosu Oteng-Abayie is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Economics at KNUST, Ghana. He has experience in management consulting for microfinance and strategy. He has published articles in the area of financial and macroeconomics. Eric's current research focus towards economics of labour, energy, health, and development issues. As a Senior Lecturer, he teaches Labour Economics, Mathematical Economics, Research Methods, Macroeconomics, and Statistics for Economists. Correspondence regarding this article can also be addressed directly to: oteng_abayie@yahoo.com.


We wish to acknowledge Ramson Etornam Ohene for proofreading our manuscript.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.





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