Creator of Knowledge
Information Resources Management Association
Advancing the Concepts & Practices of Information Resources Management in Modern Organizations

Subject Recommended Samples: Snowball Sampling

Subject Recommended Samples: Snowball Sampling
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Author(s): Pedro Isaías (Universidade Aberta, Portugal), Sara Pífano (Universidade Aberta, Portugal) and Paula Miranda (Polytechnic Institute of Setúbal, Portugal)
Copyright: 2013
Pages: 15
Source title: Information Systems Research and Exploring Social Artifacts: Approaches and Methodologies
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Pedro Isaias (Portuguese Open University, Portugal) and Miguel Baptista Nunes (University of Sheffield, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-2491-7.ch003


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In a research project, the selection of the sample method is crucial, since it has repercussions throughout the entirety of the study. It determines how the population under scrutiny will be represented and with what accuracy. Hence, it has an important impact in terms of the reliability and validity of the research in general, and consequently, its conclusions. This chapter aims to explore snowball sampling as a chain-referral sampling method. An introductory review of the relevant literature highlights its main characteristics, benefits, and shortcomings, and provides a broader insight to circumstances where it can be successfully applied. This theoretical prologue is followed by the analysis of its employment in an online questionnaire and the presentation of the lessons learned from this sampling decision.

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