Question
Asked 4th Apr, 2013

What is snowball sampling?

Hi everyone.. could you help me, what is the snowball sampling? it is probability or non-probability sampling?

Most recent answer

6th Feb, 2022
Sazan Ghazi
University of Duhok
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 Bali, you will find it increasingly difficult to find primary data sources unless a member is willing to provide you with contacts of other members.
For example: its business studies focusing on a specific company that involve primary data collection from employees of that company. Once you have contact details of one employee she/he can help you to recruit other employees to the study by providing contact details.
2 Recommendations

Popular Answers (1)

4th Apr, 2013
Steven Venette
University of Southern Mississippi
Snowball sampling can happen in a number of ways, but generally it is when a group of people recommends potential participants for a study, or directly recruits them for the study. Those participants then recommend additional participants, and so on, thus building up like a snowball rolling down a hill.
Snowball sampling, in general application, is a type of convenience sample. If you are trying to recruit people who are difficult to identify or have to meet certain criteria to participate, then snowball sampling can be used to ease data collection. Find one person who qualifies to participate, ask him or her to recommend several other people who have the knowledge/traits you are looking for, and participant list can grow from there. This use of snowballing is a type of purposive sampling.
Snowballing can be used to approximate a random sample. There are two main ways that this can happen. The first happens when the first wave of participants are given a selection criterion that helps "randomize" the sampling process. An example would be to have the person recommend potential participants who live the farthest away. After a few rounds, you get a pretty good mix. The second uses network analysis theory to calculate weights for the data so that they reflect the known census/demographic characteristics of the population being studied.
Hope that helps!
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All Answers (23)

4th Apr, 2013
Steven Venette
University of Southern Mississippi
Snowball sampling can happen in a number of ways, but generally it is when a group of people recommends potential participants for a study, or directly recruits them for the study. Those participants then recommend additional participants, and so on, thus building up like a snowball rolling down a hill.
Snowball sampling, in general application, is a type of convenience sample. If you are trying to recruit people who are difficult to identify or have to meet certain criteria to participate, then snowball sampling can be used to ease data collection. Find one person who qualifies to participate, ask him or her to recommend several other people who have the knowledge/traits you are looking for, and participant list can grow from there. This use of snowballing is a type of purposive sampling.
Snowballing can be used to approximate a random sample. There are two main ways that this can happen. The first happens when the first wave of participants are given a selection criterion that helps "randomize" the sampling process. An example would be to have the person recommend potential participants who live the farthest away. After a few rounds, you get a pretty good mix. The second uses network analysis theory to calculate weights for the data so that they reflect the known census/demographic characteristics of the population being studied.
Hope that helps!
19 Recommendations
5th Apr, 2013
Kalaya Yar
Loei Rajabhat University
The snoww ball or chein sampling are nonprobability samping Method. the sampling is Cumulative snowball contineous connect by connect (same net work) until have full of sample you want to analysis
1 Recommendation
5th Apr, 2013
Nur Shuhada Kamarudin
USIM | Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia
Thanks every one!... it really help...
5th Apr, 2013
Steven Venette
University of Southern Mississippi
By the way, check out this article:
J Urban Health. 2006 May; 83(3): 459–476.
doi: 10.1007/s11524-006-9052-7
Effectiveness of Respondent-Driven Sampling for Recruiting Drug Users in New York City: Findings from a Pilot Study
2 Recommendations
14th May, 2014
Koketso Mphahlele
Wageningen University & Research
Hi, Please recommend sites and or articles on purposive sampling and snowball sampling techniques
2 Recommendations
17th Feb, 2015
Nissim Cohen
University of Haifa
Hi,
This article may help...
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19th Feb, 2015
Steven Venette
University of Southern Mississippi
Just to be clear, snowball sampling is a group of techniques. Chaining is one approach.
Snowballing can be a type of convenience sample, it is most often a form of purposive sampling, and it might, if done correctly, approximate a random sample. Snowball samples are not pure random samples.
Additional information:
2 Recommendations
20th Feb, 2015
Nur Shuhada Kamarudin
USIM | Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia
Thanks for your question Koketso Mphahlele. Many thanks for the explainations Nissim Cohen and Steven Venette 
29th Feb, 2016
Hashim El Waelly
Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology
@Steven Venettee much appreciated
14th Oct, 2016
Idama Oghenerobo Supreme Ph.D
University of Nigeria
Snowball sampling method is very complex, I would rather recommend a simpler method such as Taro Yama    
31st Oct, 2016
Fayek Elkhwsky
Alexandria University
Snows sample is ls not time consuming  for hidden population so more suitable if anonymously applied  it is auto run  
1 Recommendation
26th Jan, 2017
Abdul Jabbar
University of Leicester
1 Recommendation
14th Mar, 2017
Imran Ali Abro
Sukkur Institute of Business Administration
Basically, It is a type of sampling where we get help from one recruiter to another recruiter alike him. This chain is on-going. There are three types of snowball techniques of sampling. 1) Linear Snowball: the first subject recruited to the sample group provides multiple referrals. 2) Exponential non-discriminative snowball sampling. The first subject recruited to the sample group provides multiple referrals. Each new referral is explored until primary data from sufficient amount of samples are collected.3) Exponential discriminative snowball sampling. Subjects give multiple referrals, however, only one new subject is recruited among them. The choice of a new subject is guided by the aim and objectives of the study.
4 Recommendations
20th Aug, 2017
Nissim Cohen
University of Haifa
1 Recommendation
28th Sep, 2018
Ali Aslam
The University of Waikato
Snowball sampling is a non probability 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 Bali, you will find it increasingly difficult to find primary data sources unless a member is willing to provide you with contacts of other members.
This sampling method involves primary data sources nominating another potential primary data sources to be used in the research. In other words, snowball sampling method is based on referrals from initial subjects to generate additional subjects. Therefore, when applying this sampling method members of the sample group are recruited via chain referral.
Also, snowball sampling is the most popular in business studies focusing on a specific company that involve primary data collection from employees of that company. Once you have contact details of one employee she/he can help you to recruit other employees to the study by providing contact details.
1 Recommendation
30th Sep, 2018
Emma Hopkins
Coventry University
Is this the same as reference list searching
2nd Sep, 2019
Hamed Salemian
Yazd University
Hello
Snowball sampling is a non-probability sampling method for situations where the units under study are not easily identifiable.
17th Jan, 2020
Gul Bahar Chachar
Sukkur Institute of Business Administration
It is one of the best sampling technique used by qualitative researchers. The researcher take help from research participaints to recruit more research participaints. Similarly, the researcher can get help from his/her colleagues, friends and other professionals for recruiting research participaints.
I have used this technique along with convenience sampling technique, it helped me a lot in recruiting right same for my study.
I would suggest you and other novice researchers to used this sampling technique.
8 Recommendations
Deleted profile
what is the rationale behind using snowball sampling? researcher uses snowball
sampling technique as this will enable her to recruit hard to identify/ reach individuals as well as it will enable the researchers to locate/reach “locate information-rich informants” (Patton, 2000).
Is it Snowball sampling technique involves identifying and choosing participants those are engaged and active in the study of interest? equally have extensive experience and knowledgeable? or this part of purposive sampling but not snowball technique in particular?
8th Jun, 2020
Muhammed Ashraful Alam
Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Bangladesh
It's a type of non-probability sampling.mostly used in qualitative study. Respondents will help you to find out further respondents. Researcher should be more grateful to the respondents here. One for the information collected and another for finding the participants with their helps..
1 Recommendation
27th Oct, 2021
Kimberly Burke
Memorial University of Newfoundland
Is snowball sampling a part of purposive sampling?

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