Snowball sampling

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Snowball sampling is designed to identify people with particular knowledge, skills or characteristics that are needed as part of a committee and/or consultative process. Using this approach, a few potential respondents are contacted and asked whether they know of anybody with the characteristics that you are looking for in your research.


  • Draft up a participation program (likely to be subject to change, but indicative).
  • Approach stakeholders and ask for contacts.
  • Gain contacts and ask them to participate.
  • Community issues groups may emerge that can be included in the participation program.
  • Continue the snowballing with contacts to gain more stakeholders if necessary.
  • Ensure a diversity of contacts by widening the profile of persons involved in the snowballing exercise.


The author of this article is UNIVE team
The article has been reviewed by Plan Bleu and PAP/RAC
Please note that others may also have edited the contents of this article.