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Snowball sampling is a technique that can be applied in two survey contexts. The first context involves surveying members of a rare population. The second involves studying mutual relationships among population members. In both cases, respondents are expected to know about the identity of other members of the same population group.

Studying Rare Populations

In this context, snowball sampling is a nonprobability sampling technique. The general objective is to identify members of the rare population. It involves identifying one or more members of a rare population and asking them to name other members of the same population. These additional persons are then contacted and asked to name additional persons in the rare population; and so forth. The process continues until an adequate sample size has been obtained ...

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