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Margrit Schreier

In: The SAGE Handbook of Qualitative Data Collection

Chapter 6: Sampling and Generalization1

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Sampling and Generalization1
Sampling and Generalization
Margrit Schreier

In their textbook about empirical research methodology in the social sciences, 6 and Bellamy write: ‘Making warranted inferences is the whole point and the only point of doing social research’ (2012, p. 14). Empirical research, in other words, does not limit itself to describing those instances included in a given study. It wants to go beyond those instances and arrive at conclusions of broader relevance.

This is true of qualitative just as much as of quantitative research (on the extent and type of generalizations in qualitative research see Onwuegbuzie and Leech, 2010).2 When Lynd and Lynd (1929), for example, set about studying the community they called ‘Middletown’ in the early twentieth century, their goal was not to provide an ...

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