Snowball sampling


Snowball or chain sampling is a method for locating information rich key informants and critical cases.

The process begins by asking well situated people “Who knows a lot about ___? Whom should I talk to?” By asking a number of people who else to talk with, the snowball gets bigger and bigger as you accumulate new information-rich cases.

In most programs or systems a few key names or incidents get mentioned repeatedly. Those people or events recommended as valuable by a number of different informants, take on special importance. The chain of recommended informants would typically diverge initially as many possible sources are recommended, then converge as a few key names get mentioned over and over again." (Patton 2002 p237)

Patton M Q, (2002) Qualitative Research and Evaluation Options (3rd ed.) Thousand Oaks, California. Sage Publications

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