Sampling techniques make researchers practical. There are several types of sampling methods, depending on your research group. You can use a process known as snowball sampling when researching populations of people that may be difficult to come into contact with.
The snowball sampling method is used by researchers when the sample for the study is scarce or only includes a tiny subset of the general population. Learning about this method can help you access these populations and successfully understand them to advance your research. This article will explain the snowball sampling definition and all detail about it.
Snowball sampling, also defined as chain-referral sampling, is a non-probability sampling method where samples have unique characteristics. This sampling method uses subjects who are already available to help gather the samples needed for a study.
This method is similar to asking your subjects to suggest a different person who shares the same trait as your next subject. Once the researcher has a sufficient number of subjects, they observe the subjects who have been suggested and keep going in this manner.
It is common to use snowball sampling for business research. This sampling strategy can continue indefinitely, like a snowball growing in size, until a researcher has enough information to analyze and draw firm conclusions to help a business make informed decisions.
The definition of snowball sampling
An initial convenience sample of one or more participants precedes snowball sampling. There are three varieties of the snowball sampling technique. The differences relate to the number of subjects each participant finds and the number of the study includes.
Many techniques adhere to a similar pattern, even though specific steps can change depending on your research topic or sampling strategy. To use snowball sampling in your study, consider the following steps:
1 - Select potential population participants: Identifying a sample subject is the first step in successfully using snowball sampling. One or two sources for your initial research may come from this step. To guarantee a representative sample, it's crucial to confirm that these potential participants meet the arbitrary requirements of your study.
2 - Contact potential participants: Once you have chosen your sample subjects, contact them to see if they'd be interested in participating in your study. Subjects can be reached in various ways, including by phone or email.
You can complete the remaining sampling steps if the subjects agree to participate. You can either contact your second sample source or look for alternative sources if they don’t want to participate in the study.
3 - Invite participants to participate in the study: Inform them about the research before asking them to participate. Participants who are unsure about participating can decide to do so with the help of this explanation. Inquire about subject referrals even if your subjects are unwilling to join in enlarging your sample.
4 - Promote subject suggestions: You can encourage them to suggest additional research subjects once the initial subjects are signed up for your study. Instead of asking participants to name other potential subjects, you might encourage them to suggest they contact you directly. This approach can be beneficial when researching delicate subjects because it gives referred subjects the option of getting you or not.
5 - Analyze the discriminative sampling: Analyze the referral data you receive using discriminative sampling techniques. This analysis guarantees that you can choose the research subjects that are most pertinent to it. This analysis can be used to find participants who meet the criteria for your topic's research objectives, such as participants who meet a particular age or criteria.
6 - Continue until you have the required samples: You can ask your initial referrals for additional information after speaking with them. Repeat these steps to contact all referrals or reach the target population. If you have determined that you have gathered a sizeable enough sample size, you may also stop recruiting participants.
With the snowball method, a researcher can create a sample solely through recommendations. Snowball sampling is the only method for gathering data and essential information for some populations. The following situations call for the use of this sampling:
Snowball sampling is an effective way of investigating unknown and rare groups. Snowball sampling has advantages and disadvantages, just like all other research techniques. It is crucial to be aware of these to decide if it is the best approach for your research design.
Snowball sampling is a widespread technique in qualitative research. This approach is typically used to research geographically dispersed populations, sensitive topics that people may prefer not to discuss in public, folks with a social stigma, or populations with specific characteristics of interest. In each of these scenarios, the availability of a sampling framework makes it challenging for non-members to access members of the people.
When the population of research participants is unknown or challenging, this sampling is practical. Your pool of potential research subjects can grow thanks to this research methodology. Although it can be used in a wide range of settings, the following kinds of research favor using snowball sampling:
In contrast, researchers have little control over the sample because they do not choose the participants. As a result, scientists won't know much about how representative the sample is of the intended audience. Sampling bias is a fear of researchers when using this sampling technique, so you can avoid using this method in a specific research group.
The bias of snowball sampling is that it's difficult to tell whether you're studying moderates or the other end of the population. You should be made aware of where your behavior falls on the behavior continuum. However, bias does not necessarily render snowball examples wholly incorrect or undesirable. This means that researchers must be conscious of potential biases and ready to consider how they affect findings and conclusions.
In conclusion, snowball sampling is a type where the pool of initially enrolled participants is used to find new study participants who meet the requirements. Snowball sampling is an example of nonprobability sampling in which participants are selected subjectively.
The process of enrolling participants can go on indefinitely with snowball sampling as long as the researcher is happy with the size of the study pool. It is advantageous to use when recruiting through other people is necessary because the needed participants are more masked in the population.
The snowball sampling technique is often used in social, medical, or business psychological studies. Snowball sampling bias is a consequence that must be considered when using it because it may affect the reliability of the results.
Sena is a content writer at forms.app. She likes to read and write articles on different topics. Sena also likes to learn about different cultures and travel. She likes to study and learn different languages. Her specialty is linguistics, surveys, survey questions, and sampling methods.