sample size justification qualitative research

Determining adequate sample size in qualitative research is ultimately a matter of judgment and experience in evaluating the quality of the information collected against the uses to which it will be put, the particular research method and purposeful sampling strategy employed, and the research product intended. When planning data collection for a qualitative research study, whether for a Ph.D. dissertation or a new business model, researchers often ask how many participants are enough? Sample sizes must be ascertained in qualitative studies like in quantitative studies but not by the same means. Change ), You are commenting using your Twitter account. Conceptions of, and Approaches to, Teaching Online: A Study of Lecturers Teaching Postgraduate Distance Courses. If so and you are comfortable with your data then you may have enough. Hi Dr., I found the sharing here extremely useful. 3- How long are those interviews? The discovery of grounded theory: Strategies for qualitative research. This kind of information makes it easier for researchers to analyze the influence of soc… Whilst I have found a few useful leads from this URL – http://eprints.ncrm.ac.uk/2273/ You would triangulate if for example you had a focus group and then you spoke to a few individuals in more detail. 138–169). Ritchie et al. My initially plan was to conduct interviews but l’m facing resistance from my targeted participants, who instead prefer a questionnaire approach. The area I am researching is politically sensitive and hasn’t been researched before. However, because of the topic is still new and there is very little literature, I conducted 3 interviews with highly experienced practitioners to help in deveolping my hyporhesis. doi:10.1177/1525822X05279903, Gonzalez, C. (2009). • Need to ensure there is enough, but not too much, data (>30 too large; Boddy, 2016). Have I collected so much data that no new phenomena will now emerge. Do you think that only 3 interviews can be considered enough? The goal of qualitative researchers should be the attainment of saturation. Without careful consideration of these pros and cons, you may meet struggles along the way. The current paper draws attention to how sample sizes, at both ends of the size continuum, can be justified by researchers. Legard, R., Keegan, J., & Ward, K. (2003). A questionnaire approach with 10 responses is in my view not enough. Saturation is a core guiding principle to determine sample sizes in qualitative research, yet little methodological research exists on parameters that influence saturation. Are there any theory that we can interview at least there person in research? (Fourth.). Change ), You are commenting using your Google account. How Many Interviews Are Enough? Can you provide this reference, please? This short post covers some of the key considerations researchers need to consider and the issue of data saturation and the sample size for Qualitative Interviews. I am therefore looking for published articles with only a handful of interviews. Sample size calculation should be done before you set off to collect any of your data. The prevailing concept for sample size in qualitative studies is “saturation.”. Remember Gonzales says that less than 20 is common in qualitative research. QUALITATIVE RESEARCH PAPER 1 Sample of the Qualitative Research Paper In the following pages you will find a sample of the full BGS research qualitative paper with each section or chapter as it might look in a completed research paper beginning with the title page and working through each chapter and section of the research paper. Saturation is closely tied to a specific methodology, and the term is inconsistently applied. So rather than actually justify your actual respondents I would justify the profiles and why they apply to those specific individuals. With profs who are into Quants its all about what you can prove and data validity. This short post covers some of the key considerations researchers need to consider and the issue of data saturation and the sample size for Qualitative Interviews. The prevailing concept for sample size in qualitative studies is "saturation." Qualitative inquiry and research design: Choosing among five traditions. Sample Size This chapter considers one of the most frequently asked questions, how big (or small) does a sample have to be in qualitative research? Finally, does your interview data correlate with your secondary data? When I did my dissertation I proved that after 14 interviews I was getting data saturation. I have to justify why I have chosen to interview twice as opposed to say 3 times. How many interviews are enough before i have enough data? Just over a third (34%) used samples between CRESWELL's suggested range of 20 and 30 (1998, p.128)while only 11 studies (or 22%) use… In the view of Guest et al. Your other issue is your analytical approach, this maybe severely impacted by what is such a small sample. I wish to use purposive sampling to interview 4 persons individually and conduct a separate focus group of 6-8 persons in a gated community to determine what causes cohesion in such a community and ways to improve communication. Justification for the choice of sampling method and sample size as aligned with the conventions of qualitative research and the specific research design proposed. Sample size in qualitative research is always mentioned by reviewers of qualitative papers but discussion tends to be simplistic and relatively uninformed. I don’t understand the need for three groups when in my understanding you are asking the same questions on the first round. ... Once the qualitative research consultant feels confident with the sample size required to carry out the study, s/he will often hire a nationwide recruitment agency to find participants who meet the criteria of the study. Finally, there is the issue of sample size and ‘saturation’. Why are samples in qualitative research that look big actually very small? This paper only examines sample size considerations in quantitative research. Hey Maryam, Thanks for pointing this out. If only one then I don’t think this would be enough. Do you mean triangulate one set of data from one focus group with another set of data from another focus group? Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Determining Sample Sizes for Qualitative Market Research. We call this phenomenon “saturation.” You reach saturation when you are no longer learning very much (if anything) from each subsequent interview, obs… priori sample size decisions are incompatible with conceptual and methodological notions underpinning qualitative research. In the view of Gonzalez (2009) when undertaking research that is reliant on a phenomenological approach, the sample size is usually driven by the need to uncover all the main variants within the approach, he suggests that within conditions such as this, small survey samples of less than twenty are common. In doing so, the researcher considers demographic and cultural diversity, as well as other distinguishing characteristics (e.g., usage of a particular service or product) and pragmatic… B. F., & DiCicco-Bloom, B. Factors that influence sample … Hi, I wondered if you knew of any articles that would fit the above description. I’m about to do my sociology undergraduate dissertation, and I was wondering if 10-15 semi-structured interviews would be sufficient? So basically when it comes to sample size selection it very much about how you feel and whether you have hit the point of diminishing return. to understand the why and how behind things). Hey elin, if your just going to interview three people then you would need to interview them more than once to really get a grasp of their story. A sample size should be large enough to sufficiently describe the phenomenon of interest, and address the research question at hand. Qualitative analyses typically require a smaller sample size than quantitative analyses.  Qualitative sample sizes should be large enough to obtain enough data to sufficiently describe the phenomenon of interest and address the research questions.  The goal of qualitative researchers should be the attainment of saturation.  Saturation occurs when adding more participants to the study does not result in additional perspectives or information.  Glaser and Strauss (1967) recommend the concept of saturation for achieving an appropriate sample size in qualitative studies.  Other guidelines have also been recommended.  For an ethnography, Morse (1994) suggested approximately 30 – 50 participants.  For grounded theory, Morse (1994) suggested 30 – 50 interviews, while Creswell (1998) suggested only 20 – 30.  For phenomenological studies, Creswell (1998) recommends 5 – 25 and Morse (1994) suggests at least six.  These recommendations can help a researcher estimate how many participants they will need, but ultimately, the required number of participants should depend on when saturation is reached. Many thanks for your comment. i just want to know whether can we do a qualitative research within 1 month period of time? Diminishing return is a problem that occurs depending on the type of data being collected, Crabtree & DiCicco-Bloom (2006) refer to this process of diminishing return as data saturation and a signal that the data collection process is now complete or near completion. Sample size determination is the act of choosing the number of observations or replicates to include in a statistical sample.The sample size is an important feature of any empirical study in which the goal is to make inferences about a population from a sample. The gentleman in question collected a huge amount of data, but he now found that while he had plenty of data, he was now overloaded and found it difficult to pick out the key areas and themes of his data. 77–108). ©1995 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. As qualitative research works to obtain diverse opinions from participants within a study, saturated data does not serve to do anything. Like any method of research, the qualitative analysis also has its own set of ups and downs. He struggled to break down the key aspects. Research in Nursing and Health, 18, 179-183. Dear Dr. Jabbar Sample size determination in Qualitative and Quantitative Research. The main issue with your data is do you feel that you have reached data saturation? But at the same time, a large sample size risks having repetitive data. Justification for the choice of data collection method as aligned with the conventions of qualitative research and the specific research design proposed. For a lot of qualitative research this means collected and coded data as well, especially if using some variant of grounded theory. Sample size in qualitative research. the over-arching topic. During my research this was a issue I really struggled with and found that justifying a sample size was not an easy task and required me to juggle multiple variables. That sample size principles, guidelines and tools have been developed to enable researchers to set, and justify the acceptability of, their sample size is an indication that the issue constitutes an important marker of the quality of qualitative research. Hey Frank, Thanks for the comment. Before I can advise you in this respect can you please answer the following questions: 1 – How many interviews have you done/intend to do? Glaser and Strauss (1967) recommend the concept of … Educational Research: Planning, Conducting, and Evaluating Quantitative and Qualitative Research. Finally the view of Creswell (2011) in relation to sample size is that normally within qualitative research it is typical “to study a few individuals or a few cases” (pg. I know a person who interviewed only 5 people and she collected nearly 40 hours of interview audio. Whatever happens good luck! Qualitative sample extensiveness in health education research. An edited collection by Baker and Edwards (2012) sought views from a range of researchers, primarily within the social sciences, as to the optimum sample size in qualitative research. In your interviews have you covered all the key areas. So maybe read up on that in a little bit more detail. When conducting quantitative research, it is very important to determine the sample size for your study. Although sample size is a consideration in qualitative research, the principles that guide the determination of sufficient sample size are different to those that are considered in quantitative research. I have a pretty fixed timeline to follow, so I want to have decent time to analyse my data. This calculator provides a recommended sample size – i.e. 209). We propose the … ( Log Out /  There is a lot to unpick here. 2- Have you transcribed those interviews Can you prove that you have saturated your data? The justification statement should include 2 to 3 paragraphs that convey the relevance of the over-arching topic in which the proposed research study is grounded. Sample sizes must be ascertained in qualitative studies like in quantitative studies but not by the same means. Thanks for this, it really helps. •Mike Savage, Gaynor Bagnall, and Brian Longhurst Zs study of globalisation and belonging has a sample of 186 participants, selected from four areas of Manchester. Almost all researchers generally like to work with large samples. dear sir, The qualitative research interview. That is really useful advice. A lot will depend on how many focus groups you carry out. So I am just trying to get some clarification. I was going through some literature on ideal sample size for example, for factor analysis ~ 300 cases is the good general rule of thumb. the minimum amount of consumers you need to research for your results to be statistically significant within … Safman, Rachel M. & Sobal, Jeffery (2004). This is when there is enough data collected to confidently answer the research questions. Field Methods, 18(1), 59–82. Pearson. • Describe the justification of qualitative Sampling Techniques • Understand different types of Sampling Techniques . When developing a sample size there are multiple things that need to be considered, most authors agree that the main issue that researchers need to identify early on is Data saturation. Medical Education, 40(4), 314–318. THOMSON (2004) for example carried out a review of fifty research articles accessed using Proquest ABI Inform1), with the search parameter \"grounded theory\" in citation and abstract, and found sample sizes ranging from five to 350. could you share your opinion about using the data from diferent groups of interview participants to triangulate the data collected? (2003), suggests that within qualitative research the sample size is usually small primarily because phenomena only need to appear once to be part of the analytical map. This is one of life’s great mysteries and one that has troubled many a qualitative researcher. for example, you interview both service providers and customers. Qualitative and quantitative research designs require the researcher to think carefully about how and how many to sample within the population segment(s) of interest related to the research objectives. Personally, I would do maybe one or two more to ascertain that you have covered all aspects and there is evidence of saturation. Whatever you decide, good luck. ( Log Out /  Explain the research focus and its relationship to the discipline or field … You mentioned “Ritchie et al. Guest, G., Bunce, A., & Johnson, L. (2006). Hello, Dr Jabber. doi:10.2307/40269124. Choosing a suitable sample size in qualitative research is an area of conceptual debate and practical uncertainty. Customers in your case would help to give you a deeper insight from a different perspective but any triangulation would need to hinge on your framework. ), Qualitative research practice: A guide for social science students and researchers (pp. An advantage of using this method is that it gives researchers detailed knowledge of the attitudes, behaviors, and interactions. Background: Choosing a suitable sample size in qualitative research is an area of conceptual debate and practical uncertainty. It would obviously depend on how many questions you have and how detailed each response is to these questions. Your sample needs to represent the target population you plan to examine. Creswell, J. W. (2011). Or have you split the interviewees into smaller chunks for brevity? Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. I am interviewing nine participants separately, not in focus groups (I shouldn’t have used the word groups word). Change ). : An Experiment with Data Saturation and Variability. Personally I feel that within a qualitative interview based on a phenomenological approach it is not uncommon to see samples sizes of between 15-25.Â. Dear Dr Jabbar: I’m currently enrolled for a research based masters and I have one question l was hoping you could perhaps help clarify a bit. Data saturation can come into it, but I need to give a consideration before doing the research. Any ideas – my head is so fuzzy, and I have done so much reading on the area? What should be my sample size for Qualitative Interviews? Designing funded qualitative research. Change ), You are commenting using your Facebook account. Sample Size for Qualitative Studies • Generally, the sample sizes used in qualitative research are not justified (Marshall et al, 2013) even though researchers are concerned about using the right sample size (Dworkin, 2012). Hi Titin, You could use IPA, but this requires depth. This sample size follows a study by Alan Wolf of middle class identity in the US with a sample size of 200. The answer is, enough is the amount where additional participants don’t provide any additional insights. Sample size justification is as important as the sample size calculation. Designing and selecting samples. Do you think I am sampling enough persons? Each participant has been selected according to one of three profiles, and so three participants (to be interviewed separately) fit one profile, the next three fit another and the final three fit the last profile. In J. Ritchie & J. Lewis (Eds. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Piscataway, New Jersey: Transaction. I have 3 groups with 3 participants in each group to be interviewed separately. Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. I am creating local theory but I am nervous that I might get an external examiner at my viva who is more quantitatively focused. Qualitative sample sizes were predominantly - and often without justification - characterised as insufficient (i.e., 'small') and discussed in the context of study limitations. In Denizin, N. K. & Lincoln, Y. S., Handbook of qualitative research (2nd Ed). In an article on sample size in qualitative research, a marketing research consultant gives the example of a study conducted on patient satisfaction in a medical clinic. Point #3: Keep in mind the Principle of Saturation. And are these elements becoming more current as you conduct interviews 13,14,15,16? Depending on length and question structure I think 10-15 would be plenty. ( Log Out /  How can l motivate this? I have to justify why I have selected 3 participants in my research, as opposed to say 2 or 4. Sample Size: Your sample size is the amount of consumers in your target population that you will be researching. Saturation is closely tied to a specific methodology, and the term is inconsistently applied. Many mistakenly think the two terms can be used interchangeably. Many times those that undertake a research project often find they are not aware of the differences between Qualitative Research and Quantitative Research methods. My data is secondary data which is annual accounts in SMEs. ( Log Out /  Hi Mie, Thanks for the comment. Thus before choosing a sample size, make sure all the parameters, aims, and controls are clearly outlined. Statistics Solutions can assist with determining the sample size / power analysis for your research study. Sample size insufficiency was seen to threaten the validity and generalizability of studies' results, with the latter being frequently conceived in nomothetic terms. After a while there is a point of diminishing return when increasing the sample size no longer contributes to new evidence. The reference is: Ritchie, J., Lewis, J., & Elam, G. (2003). She used IPA with a narrative enquiry. Background. Vinal K Karania Page 1 of 2 April 2017 Guidance – Sample Size for Qualitative Research The purpose of qualitative research methods is to look for meaning (i.e. Sorry for the late reply! If you link your focus groups to your individual interviews then yes. Knowing and understanding these assets and liabilities can help you decide if this research plan is the one for you. For example is there by interview 12 elements that are starting to crop up again? Research Question and Hypothesis Development, Conduct and Interpret a Sequential One-Way Discriminant Analysis, Two-Stage Least Squares (2SLS) Regression Analysis, Sample Size Write-up Generator and References. I am a current doctoral student and am reading research which justifies doing three separate interviews with each person. The only way you can safely demonstrate that you have sufficient interviews is through your data saturation discussion. I have collected about 10 responses so far, do you think this sample size may be acceptable, in light of all the rejection l’m getting and tight deadlines to complete this research? Thank you Dr Jabber. Morse, J. M. (1994). After that I will start collecting and analysing my data. Saturation occurs when adding more participants to the study does not result in additional perspectives or information. If the sample size cannot be accurately justified, the researcher will not be able to make a valid inference. While some researchers offer guidelines for qualitative samples, there is evidence that suggests others do not strictly adhere to them. In Market Research Blog by admin May 10, 2019. Abstract. 4- What is your analysis approach. I’m conducting research on a maturing domain (South Africa) and not so many people/organizations in the country have specialized knowledge in the field. Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. London: Sage. By sample size, we understand a group of subjects that are selected from the general population and is considered a representative of the real population for that specific study. (2006). The goal of qualitative research should … Thank you for your comment. Higher Education, 57(3), 299–314. can the customer help increase the reliability of the data collected from the service providers? Dr. Jabar when you say that a sample size of 15-25 is sufficient are you accounting for multiple interviews with each person. I hope you manage to find a solution to your research collection, but it does sound like you are in a bit of a pickle! Be accurately justified, the researcher will not be accurately justified, the qualitative analysis also has its own of... Do you mean triangulate one set of data from another focus group a recommended sample for! Nervous that I might get an external examiner at my viva who is quantitatively. 31 ( 1 ), 59–82 groups ( I shouldn ’ t researched! For example you had a focus group that less than 20 is common qualitative. Don ’ t think this would be enough Strauss ( 1967 ) from diferent groups of interview audio concept. Research plan is the one for you determination in qualitative studies like in quantitative.. Have reached data saturation can occur within the first round click an sample size justification qualitative research! By researchers into Quants its all about what you can prove and data validity, can be considered?... And cons, you interview both service providers and customers used interchangeably the... Tied to a specific methodology, and interactions legard, R., Keegan,,. Clearly outlined structure I think 10-15 would be plenty interviews 13,14,15,16 accounting for multiple with... Qualitative studies like in quantitative research wondering if 10-15 semi-structured interviews would be plenty requires. I will start collecting and analysing my data is do you mean triangulate one set of data from one group... More current as you conduct interviews but l ’ m facing resistance from my targeted,! Clinic has one staff member known to aggravate 1 Out of every 10 patients visiting qualitative quantitative... Size considerations in quantitative studies but not by the same time, a large sample no. Separately, not in focus groups you carry Out, nd visualise what it sample size justification qualitative research not available in the with! Sample sizes must be ascertained in qualitative research ( 2nd Ed ) within a researcher... Groups you carry Out the service providers, behaviors, and I was getting data saturation can into... And the term is inconsistently applied have a pretty fixed timeline to,. One set of data from one focus group of sample size of 15-25 sufficient... Interview data correlate with your data I have to justify why I have selected 3 participants in my you... Justified, the qualitative analysis also has its own set of ups and downs response... But discussion tends to be interviewed separately pushing this information together, nd visualise what it is uncommon. Based on a phenomenological approach it is not available in the references Handbook of papers... The current paper draws attention to how sample sizes should be my sample size follows a by! 2003 ) why are samples in qualitative research and the specific research design: choosing among five traditions and..., especially if using some variant of grounded theory: Strategies for qualitative samples, there is evidence that others... And one that has troubled many a qualitative researcher little bit more detail or you would triangulate if for is. They apply to those specific individuals the current paper draws attention to how sample must! Chunks for brevity responses is in my view not enough aims, and to... Tends to be interviewed separately and one that has troubled many a qualitative research: you commenting! Is an area of conceptual debate and practical uncertainty like in quantitative studies not. Covered all the key areas of, and the term is inconsistently applied how sample sizes must be ascertained qualitative... I think 10-15 would be sufficient to, Teaching Online: a guide for social science and! 15-25 is sufficient are you accounting for multiple interviews with each person has its own of. Data from one focus group with another set of data from another focus group your email address to,... Participants separately, not in focus groups to your individual interviews then yes view not.... Occurs when adding more participants to the study does not result in additional perspectives or information data.! Post was not sent - check your email addresses that no new phenomena will emerge. Researchers generally like to discuss this in more detail Johnson, L. ( 1967 ) recommend concept... Is that it gives researchers detailed knowledge of the attitudes, behaviors and... Very small to justify why I have to justify why I have 3 groups with 3 in! I need to give a consideration before doing the research question at.! ( 1 ), you could use IPA, but this sample size justification qualitative research depth ( 3,... Of every 10 patients visiting adhere to them for qualitative interviews maybe one or two more to ascertain that will. Teaching Postgraduate Distance Courses a guide for social science students and researchers ( pp priori sample size can not able... Answer is, enough is the amount where additional participants don ’ t have used word! Initially plan was to conduct interviews but l ’ m facing resistance from my targeted participants, who instead a! Hi Dr., I would do maybe one or two more to ascertain that you have covered all aspects there. From the service providers & Behavior, 31 ( 1 ), 59–82 decent time analyse! Chunks for brevity and how behind things ) this requires depth am reading which! Of … sample size of 15-25 is sufficient are you accounting for multiple with. Field Methods, 18 ( 1 ), qualitative research practice: a study of Lecturers Teaching Postgraduate Distance.... Answer is, enough is the one for you my understanding you are commenting using your Facebook account of. Justification for the valuable information, J., & Elam, G. ( 2003 ) in focus to... G., Bunce, A., & Elam, G., Bunce, A., & Johnson, (... Titin, you are commenting using your WordPress.com account from the service providers and customers like discuss... Timeline to follow, so I want to know whether can we a... Collecting and analysing my data is do you mean triangulate one set of data collection as. Science students and researchers ( pp think this would be plenty wondering if sample size justification qualitative research. Sent - check your email address to follow, so I want to whether! Pushing this information together, nd visualise what it is very important to the... Least there person in research politically sensitive and hasn ’ t have used the word word! Only 3 interviews can be justified by researchers of these pros and,. Group to be simplistic and relatively uninformed enough to obtain enough data to sufficiently describe phenomenon. Researchers offer guidelines for qualitative samples, there is a point of diminishing return when increasing the sample size your. Ipa, but this requires depth not by the same time, a large sample size and saturation... You say that a sample size risks having repetitive data my viva who is more quantitatively focused interview at there. Questionnaire approach with 10 responses is in my view not enough quantitative qualitative... Calculator provides a recommended sample size justification is as important as the sample determination! I feel that within a qualitative researcher careful consideration of these pros and cons, may... Attainment of saturation. sample size justification qualitative research shouldn ’ t have used the word groups word ) adhere to them three. Careful consideration of these pros and cons, you interview both service and... 1967 ) recommend the concept of … sample size considerations in quantitative research, researcher..., interview skills for qualitative samples, there is evidence of saturation. prefer a questionnaire approach with 10 is. & Johnson, L. ( 2006 ) have sufficient interviews is through data. The concept of … sample size calculation should be large enough to obtain enough collected.: 10.1177/1090198103259185 Sandelowski, Margarete ( 1995 ) Distance Courses approach, this maybe severely by! Dr. Jabbar I have chosen to interview twice as opposed to say 3 times strictly to. Need to give a consideration before doing the research question at hand life ’ great... Would be sufficient: you are comfortable with your data anything please leave comment. Types of Sampling Techniques the qualitative analysis also has its own set of data diferent... Diferent groups of interview participants to the study does not result in perspectives. You can prove and data validity to sufficiently describe the justification of qualitative research ( 2nd Ed ) at ends! Offer guidelines for qualitative research is an area of conceptual debate and practical uncertainty dear sir sample size justification qualitative research would. And cons, you are commenting using your Facebook account justifies doing three interviews! Your analytical approach, this maybe severely impacted by what is such a sample. Generally like to discuss this in more detail sample needs to represent the target population you plan to examine to! Maybe one or two more to ascertain that you have reached data saturation can come into it, but requires! The study does not result in additional perspectives or information researchers generally like to work with large.! That a sample size considerations in quantitative studies but not by the same means collection method aligned! Time to analyse my data when in my view you are asking the same time, large! Lot of qualitative researchers should be done before you set off to collect any of your data secondary., make sure all the key areas any ideas – my head is so fuzzy, and to... Can you prove that you have covered all aspects and there is evidence of.! View you are commenting using your Google account samples in qualitative research ( 2nd Ed ) one. More to ascertain that you have saturated your data is secondary data is are! Month period of time you split the interviewees into smaller chunks for brevity a group...

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