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Advantages And Disadvantages Of Snowball Sampling Pdf

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Purposive sampling provides non-probability samples which receive selection based on the characteristics which are present within a specific population group and the overall study.

Snowball sampling

Snowball sampling is a type of non-probability sampling technique. Non-probability sampling focuses on sampling techniques that are based on the judgement of the researcher [see our article Non-probability sampling to learn more about non-probability sampling]. This article explains a what snowball sampling is, b how to create a snowball sample, and c the advantages and disadvantages limitations of snowball sampling.

Snowball sampling is a non-probability based sampling technique that can be used to gain access to such populations. To create a snowball sample, there are two steps : a trying to identify one or more units in the desired population; and b using these units to find further units and so on until the sample size is met.

Imagine that the population we are interested in are students that download pirate music over the Internet or that take drugs. Let's go with the latter: students that take drugs. Each student is referred to as a unit [see our article, Sampling: The basics , if you are unsure about the terms unit , case , object , sample and population ]. Collectively, all student drug users make up our population.

However, we are only interested in examining a sample of these student drug users. First, we need to try and find one or more units from the population we are studying i. Finding just a small number of individuals willing to identify themselves and take part in the research may be quite difficult, so the aim is to start with just one or two students i.

Due to the sensitivity of the study, the researcher should ask the initial students who agreed to take part in the research to help identify other students that may be willing to take part. For ethical reasons, these new research participants should come forward themselves rather than being identified by the initial students.

In this respect, the initial students help to identify additional units that will make up our sample. The process continues until sufficient units have been identified to meet the desired sample size. Snowball sampling is a useful choice of sampling strategy when the population you are interested in studying is hidden or hard-to-reach. Snowball sampling is useful in such scenarios because:. It can be difficult to identifying units to include in your sample, perhaps because there is no obvious list of the population you are interested in.

For example, there are no lists of drug users or prostitutes that a researcher could get access to, especially lists that could be considered representative of the population of drug users or prostitutes. The sensitivity of coming forward to take part in research is more acute in such research contexts. Individuals that are drug users or prostitutes, for example, are likely to be less willing to identify themselves and take part in a piece of research than many other social groups.

However, since snowball sampling involves individuals recruiting other individuals to take part in a piece of research, there may be common characteristics, traits and other social factors between those individuals that help to break down some of the natural barriers that prevent such individuals from taking part. Strata are simply sub-groups within a population. In the case of drug users, it may be obvious to identify strata such as gender i.

Whilst is it typical to define the characteristics of the sample you want to examine at the start of the research process, the snowball sample may also be helpful in exploring potentially unknown characteristics that are of interest before settling on your sampling criteria. There may be no other way of accessing your sample, making snowball sampling the only viable choice of sampling strategy.

Snowball sampling may also be viewed as an effective sampling strategy from a perspective of research design and the choice of research methods. Whilst the use of quantitative research designs, surveys methods, and statistical analyses are geared towards the use of probability-based sampling techniques that make it possible to make statistical inferences from a sample that can be generalised to a population [see Probability sampling ], if we were to use such a research design to compare students who were frequent as opposed to causal drug users, it could actually lead to significant sampling bias.

Taking this example, imagine that we were to conduct our survey during morning lecturers at a university. Whilst stereotypical, we may expect that a larger proportion of these frequent drug users did not show up to the lectures compared to the causal users. If this were the case, and we would likely not know if it was or not, the sample that took part in the survey could include an over-representation of causal drug users compared with frequent drug users.

This would lead to sampling bias. Whilst it could be said that such as criticism is more about research design than sampling strategy, the point of this example is to highlight that sometimes a statistically inferior sampling design can result in a more representative sample. Since snowball sampling does not select units for inclusion in the sample based on random selection, unlike probability sampling techniques , it is impossible to determine the possible sampling error and make statistical inferences from the sample to the population.

As such, snowball samples should not be considered to be representative of the population being studied. Biernacki, P. Snowball sampling: Problems and techniques of chain referral sampling. Faugier, J. Sampling hard to reach populations. Journal of Advanced Nursing , 26 , Snowball sampling Snowball sampling is a type of non-probability sampling technique.

Snowball sampling explained Creating a snowball sample Advantages and disadvantages limitations of snowball sampling. Creating a snowball sample To create a snowball sample, there are two steps : a trying to identify one or more units in the desired population; and b using these units to find further units and so on until the sample size is met.

STEP ONE Try to identify one or more units in the desired population Imagine that the population we are interested in are students that download pirate music over the Internet or that take drugs. STEP TWO Use these units to find further units and so on until the sample size is met Due to the sensitivity of the study, the researcher should ask the initial students who agreed to take part in the research to help identify other students that may be willing to take part.

Advantages and disadvantages limitations of snowball sampling Advantages of snowball sampling Snowball sampling is a useful choice of sampling strategy when the population you are interested in studying is hidden or hard-to-reach.

Snowball sampling is useful in such scenarios because: It can be difficult to identifying units to include in your sample, perhaps because there is no obvious list of the population you are interested in. Disadvantages of snowball sampling Since snowball sampling does not select units for inclusion in the sample based on random selection, unlike probability sampling techniques , it is impossible to determine the possible sampling error and make statistical inferences from the sample to the population.

Further reading Biernacki, P.

18 Advantages and Disadvantages of Purposive Sampling

Conversations about sampling methods and sampling bias often take place at 60, feet. Although these conversations are important, it is good to occasionally talk about what sampling looks like on the ground. At a practical level, what methods do researchers use to sample people and what are the pros and cons of each? Non-random sampling techniques lead researchers to gather what are commonly known as convenience samples. However, most online research does not qualify as pure convenience sampling. Often, researchers use non-random convenience sampling methods but strive to control for potential sources of bias.

Advantages & Disadvantages of Snowball Sampling

Home Consumer Insights Market Research. Snowball sampling or chain-referral sampling is defined as a non-probability sampling technique in which the samples have traits that are rare to find. This is a sampling technique, in which existing subjects provide referrals to recruit samples required for a research study. For example, if you are studying the level of customer satisfaction among the members of an elite country club, you will find it extremely difficult to collect primary data sources unless a member of the club agrees to have a direct conversation with you and provides the contact details of the other members of the club. This sampling method involves a primary data source nominating other potential data sources that will be able to participate in the research studies.

Sampling may be defined as the procedure in which a sample is selected from an individual or a group of people of certain kind for research purpose. In sampling, the population is divided into a number of parts called sampling units. Sampling ensures convenience, collection of intensive and exhaustive data, suitability in limited resources and better rapport. In addition to this, sampling has the following advantages also.

Sometimes researchers need to study a group of population where identifying or finding potential subjects can be difficult because they are either deviant or socially isolated e.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Sampling

Snowball sampling is a type of non-probability sampling technique. Non-probability sampling focuses on sampling techniques that are based on the judgement of the researcher [see our article Non-probability sampling to learn more about non-probability sampling]. This article explains a what snowball sampling is, b how to create a snowball sample, and c the advantages and disadvantages limitations of snowball sampling.

Snowball sampling is a non-probability sampling technique that is used by researchers to identify potential subjects in studies where subjects are hard to locate. Researchers use this sampling method if the sample for the study is very rare or is limited to a very small subgroup of the population. This type of sampling technique works like chain referral. After observing the initial subject, the researcher asks for assistance from the subject to help identify people with a similar trait of interest. The process of snowball sampling is much like asking your subjects to nominate another person with the same trait as your next subject.

If you're interested in researching a specific group of people, like restaurant managers or crime victims, you need to recruit participants for your study. Calling or mailing letters to random people in the phone book would take ages, since most people you contact won't meet your criteria. The solution is snowball sampling, a practice in which a small group of initial participants help researchers find more participants by accessing their social networks.

In sociology and statistics research, snowball sampling [1] or chain sampling , chain-referral sampling , referral sampling [2] [3] is a nonprobability sampling technique where existing study subjects recruit future subjects from among their acquaintances. Thus the sample group is said to grow like a rolling snowball. As the sample builds up, enough data are gathered to be useful for research.

Snowball sampling also known as chain-referral sampling is a non-probability non-random sampling method used when characteristics to be possessed by samples are rare and difficult to find. For example, if you are studying the level of customer satisfaction among elite Nirvana Bali Golf Club in Bali, you will find it increasingly difficult to find primary data sources unless a member is willing to provide you with contacts of other members. This sampling method involves primary data sources nominating another potential primary data sources to be used in the research.

Snowball Sampling: Definition, Method, Advantages and Disadvantages

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