Demystifying theoretical sampling in grounded theory research

Jenna Breckenridge, Derek Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Theoretical sampling is a central tenet of classic grounded theory
and is essential to the development and refinement of a theory
that is ?grounded? in data. While many authors appear to share
concurrent definitions of theoretical sampling, the ways in which
the process is actually executed remain largely elusive and
inconsistent. As such, employing and describing the theoretical
sampling process can present a particular challenge to novice
researchers embarking upon their first grounded theory study.
This article has been written in response to the challenges faced
by the first author whilst writing a grounded theory proposal. It
is intended to clarify theoretical sampling for new grounded
theory researchers, offering some insight into the practicalities of
selecting and employing a theoretical sampling strategy. It
demonstrates that the credibility of a theory cannot be
dissociated from the process by which it has been generated and
seeks to encourage and challenge researchers to approach
theoretical sampling in a way that is apposite to the core
principles of the classic grounded theory methodology.
Original languageEnglish
JournalGrounded Theory Review
Volume8
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2009

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