What is snowball sampling

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. Let's go with the latter: Each student is referred to as a unit [see our article, Sampling:

What is snowball sampling

Social computing Snowball What is snowball sampling can be perceived as an evaluation sampling in the social computing field.

For example, in the interview phase, snowball sampling can be used to reach hard-to-reach populations. Participants or informants with whom contact has already been made can use their social networks to refer the researcher to other people who could potentially participate in or contribute to the study.

Conflict environment It has been observed that conducting research in conflict environment is challenging due to mistrust and suspicion. A conflict environment, where people or groups thinks their needs and goal are contradictory to the goals and or needs of other people or group.

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These conflicts among groups or people include the differences to claim the area of territory, resources, trade, civil and religious rights that cause considerable misunderstanding and heighten the disagreements that lead to an environment with lack of trust and suspicion.

In conflict environment, the entire population is marginalized to some extent rather than a specific group of people and makes it very hard for investigators to reach the What is snowball sampling subjects to conduct the research.

For example, a threatening political environment under authoritarian regime creates obstacles for the investigators to conduct the research. Snowball sampling has demonstrated as a second best method in conducting research in conflict environments like, in the context of the Israel and Arab Conflict.

Snowball sampling address the conditions of lack of trust that arises due to uncertainty about the future through trace-linking methodology. Expert information collection Snowball sampling can be used to identify experts in a certain field such as medicinemanufacturing processesor customer relation methods, and gather professional and valuable knowledge.

For instance, 3M called in specialists from all fields that related to how a surgical drape could be applied to the body using snowball sampling.

Every involved expert can suggest another expert who they may know could offer more information. Advantages and disadvantages[ edit ] Advantages[ edit ] Locate hidden populations: It is possible for the surveyors to include people in the survey that they would not have known but, through the use of social network.

Locating people of a specific population: There are no lists or other obvious sources for locating members of the population e. The investigators use previous contact and communication with subjects then, the investigators are able to gain access and cooperation from new subjects.

Snowball Sampling - Chain Referral Sampling

The key in gaining access and documenting the cooperation of subjects is trust. This is achieved that investigators act in good faith and establish good working relationship with the subjects. As subjects are used to locate the hidden population, the researcher invests less money and time in sampling.

Snowball sampling method does not require complex planning and the staffing required is considerably smaller in comparison to other sampling methods.

Snowball sampling

As an alternative methodology, when other research methods can not be employed, due to challenging circumstancing and when random sampling is not possible. As complementary methodology with other research methods to boost the quality and efficiency of research conduct and to minimize the sampling bias like quota sampling.

The first participants will have a strong impact on the sample.

What is snowball sampling

Snowball sampling is inexact and can produce varied and inaccurate results. The method is heavily reliant on the skill of the individual conducting the actual sampling, and that individual's ability to vertically network and find an appropriate sample.

To be successful requires previous contacts within the target areas, and the ability to keep the information flow going throughout the target group. Snowball sampling contravenes many of the assumptions supporting conventional notions of random selection and representativeness [15] However, social systems are beyond researchers' ability to recruit randomly.

Snowball sampling is inevitable in social systems. Unknown sampling population size: There is no way to know the total size of the overall population. Another disadvantage of snowball sampling is the lack of definite knowledge as to whether or not the sample is an accurate reading of the target population.

By targeting only a few select people, it is not always indicative of the actual trends within the result group. Identifying the appropriate person to conduct the sampling, as well as locating the correct targets is a time-consuming process such that the benefits only slightly outweigh the costs.

Lack of control over sampling method: As the subjects locate the hidden population, the research has very little control over the sampling method, which becomes mainly dependent on the original and subsequent subjects, who may add to the known sampling pool using a method outside of the researcher's control.

Compensations[ edit ] The best defense against weaknesses is to begin with a set of initial informants that are as diverse as possible. Through its use, it is possible to make inferences about social networks and relations in areas in which sensitive, illegal, or deviant issues are involved.

Equally important is its utility in exploring population about whom little is known. For example, Kaplan et al. Graphically represented, these sampling ranged in "length" i. Samples were collected with different "target" traits to saturate.

In one subset, "foreign origin" was the trait to be saturated; in the other, it was "prostitution as occupation".

What is snowball sampling

In this example, three samples were selected from the dataset base for analysis to meet a criterion of holding the "length" of the three samples constant.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. Snowball sampling is a method typically used with unknown or rare populations.

Members of these populations have not all been previously identified and are more difficult to locate or contact than known populations (Coleman, ; Goodman, ; Spreen, ). Snowball sampling is a popular technique among social scientists who wish to work with a population that is difficult to identify or locate.

This often occurs when the population is somehow marginalized, like homeless or formerly incarcerated individuals or those who are involved in illegal activities. 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.

This article is a part of the guide. In sociology and statistics research, snowball sampling (or chain sampling, chain-referral sampling, referral sampling) 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. In sociology and statistics research, snowball sampling (or chain sampling, chain-referral sampling, referral sampling) 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.

Snowball sampling - Wikipedia