Demystifying theoretical sampling in grounded theory research

Jenna Breckenridge (Lead / Corresponding author), Derek Jones

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Theoretical sampling is a central tenet of classic grounded theory
    and is essential to the development and refinement of a theory
    that is ‘grounded’ in data. While many authors appear to share
    concurrent definitions of theoretical sampling, the ways in which
    the process is actually executed remain largely elusive and
    inconsistent. As such, employing and describing the theoretical
    sampling process can present a particular challenge to novice
    researchers embarking upon their first grounded theory study.
    This article has been written in response to the challenges faced
    by the first author whilst writing a grounded theory proposal. It
    is intended to clarify theoretical sampling for new grounded
    theory researchers, offering some insight into the practicalities of
    selecting and employing a theoretical sampling strategy. It
    demonstrates that the credibility of a theory cannot be
    dissociated from the process by which it has been generated and
    seeks to encourage and challenge researchers to approach
    theoretical sampling in a way that is apposite to the core
    principles of the classic grounded theory methodology.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalGrounded Theory Review: An International Journal
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - Jun 2009


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