Snowball sampling is also known as cold-calling, chain sampling, chain-referral sampling, and referral sampling. He has a B.A. It is used where potential participants are hard to find. University of California, Davis: Types of Samples. One problem with snowball sampling is that participants' social networks aren't random. Snowball sampling is also referred to as chain sampling, chain referral sampling or referral sampling. What Are the Advantages of Good Sample Size? However, some sexual assault survivors attend support groups and a researcher in contact with one survivor might be able to use that participant's social network to contact more survivors. Online Tables (z-table, chi-square, t-dist etc.). This pattern is continued until enough number of subjects are available for the sample. One subject is identified and studied and then asked to recruit other subjects from the person's acquaintances and contacts. See disclaimer. Snowball sampling is where research participants recruit other participants for a test or study. Thus, the study could exclude or under-represent CEOs from different industries. When the defined population with the sample is unavailable, this method can prove effective in finding the sample subjects. CLICK HERE! Levine, D. (2014). Snowball sampling method is generally used for low incidence or rare population groups, where sampling poses a big problem. Your first 30 minutes with a Chegg tutor is free! Snowball sampling may help you discover characteristics about a population that you weren’t aware existed. Pearson FT Press. Even You Can Learn Statistics and Analytics: An Easy to Understand Guide to Statistics and Analytics 3rd Edition. Then, the subject is used to find more sample subjects through friends, family and acquaintances. If the researcher happens to know a particular CEO, however, that executive could contact other people in her social network who hold the same title. Snowball sampling is particularly useful for finding participants who meet unusual criteria and are typically hard to locate. Some study participants may object to using their social networks in this way, and some potential participants may dislike being contacted for participation. Statistics Definitions > Snowball Sampling. A researcher aiming to. If you're interested in researching a specific group of people, like restaurant managers or crime victims, you need to recruit participants for your study. These people will more often than not share similar traits and behaviour characteristics. Calling or mailing letters to random people in the phone book would take ages, since most people you contact won't meet your criteria. Snowball sampling can present significant ethical problems, especially if the research topic is sensitive or personal. For example, if a study was investigating cheating on exams, shoplifting, drug use, prostitution, or any other “unacceptable” societal behavior, potential participants would be wary of coming forward because of possible ramifications. Some people may not want to be found. https://www.statisticshowto.com/snowball-sampling/, Simple Random Sample: Definition and Examples. Snowball sampling method is generally used for low incidence or rare population groups, where sampling poses a big problem. The type of subjects that the researcher can secure for sampling is mainly dependent on the original subjects that were researched. in journalism and a M.A. He has worked for publication houses like Edward Elgar Publishing and Nelson Thornes in Gloucestershire, England. Based on the Word Net lexical database for the English Language. Copyright 2020 Leaf Group Ltd. / Leaf Group Media, All Rights Reserved. Regardless of how old we are, we never stop learning. A researcher hoping to survey business executives, for example, might struggle to convince busy CEOs to take the time to fill out a survey. Advantages of Snowball Sampling. These steps are repeated until the needed sample size is found. The biggest advantage of snowball sampling is that it helps researchers find more participants for studies than would be possible by other methods. In some cases, sampling of members of a special population segment are require, but prove difficult to locate. However, other study participants would likely know other people in the same situation as themselves and could inform others about the benefits of the study and reassure them of confidentiality. (2010), The Cambridge Dictionary of Statistics, Cambridge University Press. Devon Willis started writing in 2002. In the CEO study, for example, if the first participant recruited happens to work in manufacturing, most of her CEO contacts are likely to also come from the manufacturing sector. If you're interested in researching a specific group of people, like restaurant managers or crime victims, you need to recruit participants for your study. Whether you’re studying times tables or applying to college, Classroom has the answers. An Example of Snowball Sampling: Snowball sampling is an effective way to find people who belong to groups that are difficult to locate. Therefore, you’ll probably be in contact with an institutional review board (like this one) or another department similarly involved in ethics. Cold-calling is usually reserved for snowball sampling where there’s no risk of potential embarrassment or other ethical dilemmas. Everitt, B. S.; Skrondal, A. Descriptive Statistics: Charts, Graphs and Plots. A researcher using snowball sampling can keep participants anonymous in published papers but can't keep participants anonymous from each other since participants have to recruit each other. Rather, the researchers used their own judgment to choose participants. The reason being the original subjects are tasked with adding to the sampling pool by nominating people they know. In the snowball sampling method, the researcher actually has very little control over the sampling method. These people are known to the initial subject, who is more than likely to nominate people they know very well. Another problem is that representatives of the sample are not guaranteed because the researcher has no idea of the true distribution of the sample. Even You Can Learn Statistics and Analytics: An Easy to Understand Guide to Statistics and Analytics 3rd Edition. This sampling method is also useful when researching groups, for example a specific recruitment pattern in an organisation. Need help with a homework or test question? It us usually impossible to determine the sampling error or make inferences about populations based on the obtained sample. Nick Robinson is a writer, instructor and graduate student. Please post a comment on our Facebook page. Comments? This allows a larger sample size than would be available otherwise. Advantages & disadvantages of opportunity sampling. It’s called snowball sampling because (in theory) once you have the ball rolling, it picks up more “snow” along the way and becomes larger and larger. Snowball sampling may help you discover characteristics about a population that you weren’t aware existed. For example, many sexual assault survivors are reluctant to talk about their experiences and avoid identifying themselves as survivors. Advantages: It allows for studies to take place where otherwise it might be impossible to conduct because of a lack of participants. When the defined population with the sample is unavailable, this method can prove effective in finding the sample subjects. Snowball sampling is convenient, but has significant limitations. NEED HELP NOW with a homework problem? This sampling technique needs little planning and fewer workforce compared to other sampling … This sampling method is also useful when researching groups, for example a specific recruitment pattern in an organisation. The process is cheap, simple and cost-efficient. As a result, the technique can result in biased samples. When individuals are named, it’s sometimes called “cold-calling”, as you are calling out of the blue. Need to post a correction? Similarly, a sexual assault survivor's social network might be limited to a single geographic area, making it impossible for the researcher to generalize study results to the entire nation.