Theory-based or Theoretical Sampling
The process of selecting "incidents, slices of life, time periods, or people on the basis of their potential manifestation or representation of important theoretical constructs" (Patton, 2001, p. 238).
Theoretical sampling is an important component in the development of grounded theories.
Glaser and Strauss (1967) describe an iterative sampling process that is based on emerging theoretical concepts. This sampling approach has the goal of developing a rich understanding of the dimensions of a concept across a range of settings and conditions.
Why use this method?
This method is best used when the research focuses on theory and concept development and the research team's goal is to develop theory and concepts that are connect to, grounded in or emergent from real life events and circumstances.
Click here to return to the Sampling page