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California State University, Dominguez Hills
University of Wisconsin, Parkside
Created: December 27, 2005
Latest Update: December 27, 2005
The following questions are based on Self Test on Conclusions We Can Legitimately Draw from transform_dom Discussions
- What is a snowball sample?
A snowball sample is one that starts with people you know who are willing to answer your questions and share their ideas with you. This first set of people then identifies other people that they know who they believe would talk to you. And so on. The sample builds like a snowball rolling downhill.
- Why is snowball sampling important?
A couple of reasons snowball sampling is important are (1) that it involves people who will talk to you because you know them and (2) by getting personal experience data from more than yourself, you're taking into account more perspectives. Of course, your friends may share your values and ideas, but as they lead you to their friends you're more likely to get increasingly different perspectives.. Also, snowball sampling doesn't carry the risk of approaching absolute strangers and trying to convince them to talk to you.
- How does transform_dom involve snowball sampling?
The threads open the means for all members to join the discussions and share their ideas. Since you have to join the group to post, those who respond already share some characteristics with the rest of us: community activism, a concern for safety nets to cover catastrophic events and poverty, etc. But if you wanted a group with different values you might try searching for a Yahoo group that is more libertarian and less concerned with safety nets and relieving poverty and catastrophe. That would still be snowball sampling, but on a broader perspective. Yahoo would have yielded further sample possibilities, just as a friend might have.
So maybe we should extend our discussions beyond authors of texts we read to groups on Yahoo that share different agendas.
- How is such information useful to you in assessing information from your classes?
Through discussions that provide a measure of snowball sampling you can strengthen your resolve to draw your own conclusions and not merely accept whatever you are told. Such discussions also help you see the issue from many perspectives and develop your own answerability skills. Hopefully, they prepare you for future governance discourse in your communities.