Since the start of this year, the S&P/ASX 200 (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) has moved by more than 1% on 42 different days – close to a third of all trading days.

That’s volatility for you. And it’s likely to continue with ongoing dramas in Europe, Brexit, Will the US raise interest rates or not and whether China’s slowing economy will have more of an impact on global economies like Australia’s.

To compensate for the turbulence, investors have been turning to safe, stable companies paying good dividends. Many have turned to their favourite companies amongst the top 20 blue chips.

But as investors buying bank stocks a year ago have found, the juicy fully franked dividend in no way makes up for the more than 20% fall in the share price some banks experienced.

But looking at the opposite end of the market – smaller, cheap companies paying big dividends may not be the answer either.

Some companies are cheap for a reason. Earnings are expected to fall in the years ahead, dragging their share price and dividend yield with it.

Ideally, investors want to buy cheap stocks with a great and sustainable or growing dividend.

Now Monadelphous Group Limited (ASX: MND) looks cheap with a trailing P/E ratio of under 10x and boasts a dividend yield of 8.6%, fully franked. But the construction and engineering group is expected to post lower earnings and likely a lower dividend for the 2016 financial year (FY16) and likely in FY17 as well.

Buying Monadelphous for its dividend and cheap price could be a mistake.

Woolworths Limited (ASX: WOW) has a decent trailing dividend yield of 5.4%, fully franked too. But like Monadelphous, Woolworths also faces the prospect of lower earnings in FY16 and potentially in FY17, which will make it extremely difficult for the supermarket retailer to maintain its current dividend payout.

With a share price of $21.47, not far off 10-year lows of $18.92, shares do look cheap. For long term investors prepared to weather some short-term volatility, Woolworths might be a good cheap dividend stock.

But if you are looking for one of the cheapest dividend stocks, then it’s hard to go past Dicker Data Ltd (ASX: DDR). A founder-led wholesale distributor of hardware and software, Dicker Data has grown strongly over the past few years but is still flying under the radar of most investors.

The company is forecasting a profit after tax of around $24.5 million – around 11% higher than last year. With a market cap of $285 million, that equates to a P/E of 11.6x – which is cheap. Additionally, the company has a trailing dividend yield of 8.6% – with dividends paid quarterly and fully franked!

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Motley Fool writer/analyst Mike King owns shares in Woolworths. You can follow Mike on Twitter @TMFKinga

The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.