Sim, J, Saunders, B, Waterfield, J and Kingstone, T (2018) The sample size debate: response to Norman Blaikie. International Journal of Social Research Methodology. ISSN 1364-5579

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In his detailed response to our paper on sample size in qualitative research, Norman Blaikie raises important issues concerning conceptual definitions and taxonomy. In particular, he points out the problems associated with a loose, generic application of adjectives such as ‘qualitative’ or ‘inductive.’ We endorse this concern, though we suggest that in some specific contexts a broad categorization may be more appropriate than a more nuanced distinction – provided that it is clear in which sense the terms are employed. However, other concepts, such as saturation, do not lend themselves to generic use, and require a more detailed conceptualization. Blaikie’s analysis also makes it clear that meaningful discussion of sample size in qualitative research cannot occur with reference to an undifferentiated conception of the nature of qualitative research; clear distinctions need to be made within this approach in terms of methodology, ontological and epistemological assumptions, and broader research paradigms.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in International Journal of Social Research Methodology on 27/03/2018, available online:
Uncontrolled Keywords: sampling; sample size; qualitative research
Subjects: R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine
Divisions: Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > Primary Care Health Sciences
Depositing User: Symplectic
Date Deposited: 26 Mar 2018 08:33
Last Modified: 27 Sep 2019 01:30

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