When the snowball fails to roll and the use of ‘horizontal’ networking in qualitative social research

Geddes, Alistair and Parker, Charlie and Scott, Sam (2017) When the snowball fails to roll and the use of ‘horizontal’ networking in qualitative social research. International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 35 (11-12). pp. 720-724. ISSN 1364-5579

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Abstract

Snowball sampling is frequently advocated and employed by qualitative social researchers. Under certain circumstances, however, it is prone to faltering and even failure. Drawing on two research projects where the snowball failed to roll, the paper identifies reasons for this stasis. It goes on to argue that there are alternative forms of networking that can be developed by the qualitative social researcher in lieu of snowballing. Specifically, when research momentum fails to build, rather than drilling down vertically through social networks, we argue that the researcher can move horizontally across social networks and cast the sampling and recruitment net wide and shallow rather than deep. This change in emphasis can, we argue, make the difference between a project failing and a project succeeding, and points to the importance of a variegated understanding of the social networks on which our social research depends.

Item Type: Article
Article Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in 'International Journal of Social Research Methodology' on 24th Nov 2017, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/13645579.2017.1406219
Uncontrolled Keywords: Qualitative social research; Networking
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GF Human geography. Human ecology. Anthropogeography
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Natural & Social Sciences
Research Priority Areas: Environmental Dynamics & Governance
Depositing User: Sam Scott
Date Deposited: 23 Nov 2017 17:09
Last Modified: 30 Nov 2017 07:18
URI: http://eprints.glos.ac.uk/id/eprint/5120

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