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Snowball Samples

Snowball Samples

In this assignment, you will learn about using snowball samples in research.

Using the Internet, research snowball samples.

A purposive sample is a nonrepresentative subset of a larger population. It is created for a very specific purpose or need. For example, a researcher may have a specific group in mind and that is who they will sample. A subset of a purposive sample is known as a snowball sample.

It is named a snowball sample because the researcher picks up the sample along the way in research, which is analogous to how a snowball gets larger due to accumulating snow. You achieve a snowball sample by asking a participant to suggest someone else who might fit the needs or parameters of the study. This is very helpful in hard-to-track populations, such as the homeless population.

Snowball samples are based on social networks. Researchers represent a social network by drawing a sociogram—a diagram of circles connected with lines. For example, Sally Williams and Tim Anderson do not know each other directly, but each has a good friend, Susan Braid, so they have an indirect connection. All three are part of the same friendship network. The circles represent each person or case, and the lines represent friendship or other linkages.

For this assignment, identify two people who you know but who are not your best friends, and who may or may not know one another. Ask each to name three of his or her close friends. Contact those six people, and then ask them to name their three closest friends. Repeat this process a third time.

Next, draw a sociogram or map of interconnections between the twenty-six persons. Show when more than one person named another person in the same network.

Use the chart in Appendix A to construct the sociogram.

After completing the sociogram, complete the following tasks:

Write a concise analysis explaining the process of collecting snowball samples.
Examine your feelings on your experiment with this social network example and explain them in the analysis.
Explain whether or not you think using snowball samples is an effective technique. Provide reasoning for your view.
Support your responses with relevant examples.

Using APA format, cite any sources you use appropriately throughout the paper and reference on a separate page.

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