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Sampling in interview-based qualitative research: A theoretical and practical guide

Sampling in interview-based qualitative research: A theoretical and practical guide

Robinson, Oliver ORCID: 0000-0002-6758-2223 (2014) Sampling in interview-based qualitative research: A theoretical and practical guide. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 11 (1). pp. 25-41. ISSN 1478-0887 (Print), 1478-0895 (Online) (doi:

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Sampling is central to the practice of qualitative methods, but compared with data collection and analysis, its processes are discussed relatively little. A four-point approach to sampling in qualitative interview-based research is presented and critically discussed in this article, which integrates theory and process for the following: (1) Defining a sample universe, by way of specifying inclusion and exclusion criteria for potential participation; (2) Deciding upon a sample size, through the conjoint consideration of epistemological and practical concerns; (3) Selecting a sampling strategy, such as random sampling, convenience sampling, stratified sampling, cell sampling, quota sampling or a single-case selection strategy; and (4) Sample sourcing, which includes matters of advertising, incentivising, avoidance of bias, and ethical concerns pertaining to informed consent. The extent to which these four concerns are met and made explicit in a qualitative study has implications for its coherence, transparency, impact and trustworthiness.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis Group in Qualitative Research in Psychologyon 09/05/2013, available online:
Uncontrolled Keywords: Sampling; Purposive sampling; Random sampling; Theoretical sampling; Case study; Stratified sampling; Quota sampling, Sample size; Recruitment
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Faculty / Department / Research Group: Faculty of Education, Health & Human Sciences
Faculty of Education, Health & Human Sciences > Department of Psychology, Social Work & Counselling
Last Modified: 21 Oct 2020 08:30
Selected for GREAT 2016: GREAT b
Selected for GREAT 2017: None
Selected for GREAT 2018: None
Selected for GREAT 2019: GREAT 3
Selected for REF2021: REF 4

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