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Theoretical sampling

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❶The main advantage of theoretical sampling is that it strengthens the rigour of the study if the study attempts to generate the theory in the research area. For example, some argue that it is more important to represent a wide range of different types of people and experiences in order to represent the similarities and diversity in human experience, beliefs, and conditions e.

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Contributions, Logic and Issues in Qualitative Sampling
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This pin will expire , on Change. This pin never expires. Select an expiration date. About Us Contact Us. Search Community Search Community. Qualitative Sampling Methods The following module describes common methods for collecting qualitative data.

Describe common types of qualitative sampling methodology. Explain the methods typically used in qualitative data collection. Describe how sample size is determined. Purposeful Sampling is the most common sampling strategy.

In this type of sampling, participants are selected or sought after based on pre-selected criteria based on the research question. For example, the study may be attempting to collect data from lymphoma patients in a particular city or county. The sample size may be predetermined or based on theoretical saturation, which is the point at which the newly collected no longer provides additional insights.

Click on the following link for a desciption of types of purposeful sampling: Types of Purposeful Sampling. Quota Sampling is a sampling technique whereby participant quotas are preset prior to sampling. Typically, the researcher is attempting to gather data from a certain number of participants that meet certain characteristics that may include things such as age, sex, class, marital status, HIV status, etc.

Click here for more information on this type of sampling: Snowball Sampling is also known as chain referral sampling. In this method, the participants refer the researcher to others who may be able to potentially contribute or participate in the study. This method often helps researchers find and recruit participants that may otherwise be hard to reach. For more information, click here: Collecting Qualitative Data from highness Qualitative Sampling Methods by ProProfs.

Resource Links Qualitative Research Methods - A Data Collectors Field Guide - This comprehensive, detailed guide describes various types of sampling techniques and provides examples of each, as well as pros and cons. Page Options Share Email Link. The main advantage of theoretical sampling is that it strengthens the rigour of the study if the study attempts to generate the theory in the research area. The application of theoretical sampling provides a structure to data collection as well as data analysis.

It is based on the need to collect more data to examine categories and their relationships and assures that representativeness exists in the category.

Certain disadvantages may be associated with this sampling method. It is a highly systematic method due to which application of theoretical sampling requires more resources like time and money as compared to other sampling methods.

To achieve depth in developing the categories researcher proceeds to another location to increase breadth in the category which sounds very complex and indeed is not helpful for the novice and may be problematic. In this feature, the basis is constructed on an ideal universe or a wider universe where there is a larger comprehension or social explanation according to which the researcher is able to construct his theory.

This theoretical universe will allow for better-formulated samples which are more meaningful and sensible than others.

This kind of sample will also be a wider representative sample. So in this type of sampling, we select samples that have a particular process, examples, categories and even types that are relevant to the ideal or wider universe.

One of the most commonly given example is of discourse analysis of gender. The sample relevant units in qualitative research are very often viewed as theoretically defined. This is due to the fact that most often attributions are themselves the topic of the research. In theoretical sampling the belief is that researchers need to overcome the tendency to select cases and instances that support their side of the argument.

Instead it states that it would be more beneficial to look out for negative instances and cases which are defined by the theory that we are working with. This feature basically states that a researcher should not exclude any fact from the process of research just because it seems impossible. The first two features of a theoretical sample deals with issues right at the beginning of the research project.

The third feature however deals with concerns or application during the process of the research. One of the advantages the qualitative research as a whole has over quantitative research is its flexibility. In theoretical sampling the researcher manipulates or changes the theory, sampling activities as well as the analysis during the course of the research. Flexibility occurs in this style of sampling when the researchers want to increase the sample size due to new factors that arise during the research.

Finally flexibility is also allowed when the researcher finds unexpected generalization and wants to look into deviant cases. In theoretical sampling, there are two main criteria for initial data collection, general sociological perspective and problem area. Collection criteria for the future cannot be planned in advance as the criterion emerges as the theory evolves.

Which groups are included? To study this often multiple comparison groups are used. The groups are chosen based on the theoretical criteria or relevance. Sociologists or researchers often evade the problem by studying only one group and trying to describe the subgroups. Often the differences among the groups or sub groups are just stated but a theoretical analysis is not conducted.

One of the advantages here is that the analyst has the liberty to adjust his control of the data collection, to ensure that the data is relevant to the emerging theory. Also it should be noted that usually groups are chosen only for a single comparison, therefore there is usually no pre-planned or definite set of groups for all the categories.

Another interesting fact is that it is almost impossible to cite the number of groups and the type of groups until the research is completed. One of the major differences with comparative analysis is that comparative analysis focus on the verification and description using accurate evidence. Why are groups selected? Comparing groups gives the researcher the advantage of development of variety of categories.

The main criterion is that the data collected should apply to a particular category or property, irrespective of the differences or similarities. As the researcher compares groups, he gains control over two scales of generality.

Population scope Also differences and similarities can either be maximised or minimised, depending on the type of groups being compared. This gives the researcher more control and helps him discover more categories. This then helps him to develop and relate to more theoretical properties which lead to enhancing the emerging theory. When the researcher minimises differences among groups, he is able to establish a definite set of conditions under which a category exists.

Whereas on maximising, he is able to gather a variety of data with strategic similarities among the groups. Generally in theoretical sampling, the researcher aims at maximising differences as this brings about greater coverage in the variation among different aspects, making the theory more elaborate.

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Theoretical sampling helps in exploring various hibernating research questions that are eventually evident in the data collection as a theory. According to Glaser and Holton (), Grounded theory that has a data collecting inclination towards theoretical sampling was first derived from qualitative sampling.

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Theoretical sampling is associated with grounded theory approach based on analytic induction. Theoretical sampling is different from many other sampling methods in a way that rather than being representative of population or testing hypotheses, theoretical sampling is aimed at generating and developing theoretical data. Theoretical sampling may not be necessary for bachelor level or even .

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Theoretical sampling is an important component in the development of grounded theories. Glaser and Strauss () describe an iterative sampling process that is based on emerging theoretical concepts. This sampling approach has the goal of developing a rich understanding of the dimensions of a concept across a range of settings and conditions. First of all, both theoretical sampling and snowball sampling correspond to what is usually called "sampling strategies" in qualitative research. 1) Theoretical sampling makes up the classical sampling strategy of grounded theory approach.

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Qualitative Research Overview - The following link provides a full overview of qualitative research, but also contains sections discussing types of sampling methods and methods of participant recruitment. Sampling is a very complex issue in qualitative research as there are many variations of qualitative sampling described in the literature and much confusion and overlapping of types of sampling, particularly in the case of purposeful.