Biernacki and Waldorf - Snowball Sampling (Methods)

Biernacki and Waldorf - Snowball Sampling (Methods) -...

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Snowball Sampling – Biernacki and Waldorf Poly Sci 204 Week 4 Notes Snowball (or chain referral sampling) – yields a study sample through referrals made among people who share or know of others who possess some characteristics that are of research interest. -often used when focus of study is of sensitive or private matter, deviant behavior. Problems and Techniques: -it is not self contained or self propelled, the researcher must actively and deliberately develop and control the sample’s initiation, progress, and termination. Heroin Addiction Study used as example: Objective of study was to gain some understanding of the processes that result in the “natural” recovery for heroin addiction. -two groups of ex addicts. 100 who stopped using on their own and 100 who quit through treatment. -respondents had to be addicted for 1 year minimum and nonaddicted for at least 2 consecutive years. Problems: -finding respondents to start chains -verifying eligibility -engaging respondents as Research Assistants -controlling types of chains and number of cases -pacing and monitoring referral chains and data quality. Finding Respondents to Start Chains: This group has low visability so more difficult and because of legal, moral, of social sensitivities. Ideal situation would be to draw a representative sample of all adults and screen to find addicts but costs are huge.
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  • Fall '08
  • Glasgow,G
  • researcher, respondents, referral chains

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