A practical example of using theoretical sampling throughout a grounded theory study: A methodological paper

Titan Ligita, Nichole Harvey, Kristin Wicking, Intansari Nurjannah, Karen Francis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to discuss the practical use of theoretical sampling as a method for selecting data that provide a richer and deeper understanding of the phenomenon being investigated. Design/methodology/approach: Theoretical sampling is a well-known method in grounded theory studies to seek additional data based on concepts developed from initial data analysis. This method involves following where the data have led to expand and refine the evolving theory during the analytical process. However, there is a dearth of information detailing the practical steps needed to undertake theoretical sampling. Findings: The authors used the theoretical sampling method in their study in four ways: asking additional interview questions and/or widening the scope of existing interview questions; recruiting participants with additional diversity of attributes within the same group; and adding a new group of participants and expanding research settings. Originality/value: Theoretical sampling is a valuable and practical method for the purpose of addressing gaps in the data in qualitative research. When using theoretical sampling, it is essential to consider potential strategies for countering challenges that may arise. Practical recommendations are offered on the use of theoretical sampling during data analysis, for the purpose of achieving theoretical integration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)116-126
Number of pages11
JournalQualitative Research Journal
Volume20
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jan 2020
Externally publishedYes

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