Using Quantitative Sources for Purposive Sampling

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    David Morgan


    One thing that particularly interest me about your project is that you seemed to have used a prior quantitative source as a basis for selecting the 11 people you interviewed.

    I notice that people often use some kind of “data base” to do locate purposive samples for qualitative interviewing, but I haven’t seen any real discussion of this topic in the literature.

    Can you tell us more about what you did?


    Dear David:
    I am a an EFL lecturer in the University of Béjaia/Algeria. I’m actually working on my PhD thesis. Your discussion is of great interest for me given that I have used both the quantitative and qualitative methods. I used participant observation, face-to-face interview and the before/after design as qualitative. I think that using the tight method of interviewing is more likely to be linked to the topic and phenomenon we are searching for. If we focus on interaction patterns, social/cultural phenomena, turn-taking in speech, people’s reaction, etc; I think it is appropriate to have two/more persons in the interview. Yet, if the topic is sensitive, affective, personal, I cannot garantee the data I can get from the participants at hand. A good case in point here is my study. I’m working on “Fear of Negative Evaluation as a Variety of Anxiety in EFL”. I got a limited number of volunteers. I prepared these students months before the interview because they took part of the quantitative research before. Subjects were alone with the researchers and surprising revelations appeared during these interviews. All the eleven participants perefered to be alone with me. I got data that shows origins from early childhood, primary schools, parents, teachers, gender-related, etc.
    All the best and let us share your findings. I also need your help to orient me analyse my interview. It’s the first time I use the qualitative method and the start seems difficult for me.
    Yours: Ms Nadia AHOUARI-IDRI
    MA in Educational Psychology and TEFL
    University A-Mira, Béjaia:
    Web site:

    Julie Boyles

    I hope to get this discussion moving as I can also use some help. I just posted in Two-Person Interview board but my research design is pertinent here, so at the risk over duplication–here goes again:

    Good morning. I’m in Oaxaca, Mexico–living more than doing my field work–but slowing moving ahead. My research will be in a small town of 2,400 in southern Mexico–fairly rural, quite conservative, but near the city so exposure to the urban world.

    I’ve chosen a two phase research design. I’ll first gather socio-economic-demographic data (likely using three local pueblo girls, hopefully college, if they exist). It’s rather an extensive survey–maybe an hour to 1.5 but I think it’ll work in this community. With about 600 homes, I plan to start in the center of town and interview every third or fourth home. Is that random enough? If there are 600 homes, is there a percentage that I need to hit to be “correct” in my sampling?

    The purposive part comes, of course, by drawing the women with whom to do more extensive, open-ended interviews from the survey data. The final question of the survey asks if they’d be willing to be interviewed further and which they prefer–individual, 2- or 3-person in which they choose the person(s), or small group (no mention of them choosing so I will put the group together). I then to do 8-10 2 or 3-person interviews and 8-10 individual interviews. In this way, I not only gather rich and extensive data (likely using NVIVO) but may also be able to assess the differences from the individual interviews to the 2- or 3-person interviews. I really hope to be able to add to the literature of 2- or 3-person interviews. Some of my questions and inquiry are personal (remittances recieved from migrants in the U.S., women’s role in education/raising daughters, gender issues) but I’m still not convinced that that is enough reason to abandon the benefits of 2- or 3-person interviews. I’m just hoping enough women will be comfortable with the different methods for me to use, with confidence, the at least individual and 2- 3-person interviews.

    Is there anything in particular that I need to be aware of or weary of when drawing my purposive sample from my survey data? Any other advice, info would also be appreciated.


    In regard to purposive sampling used from my survey–anything I particularly need to pay attention to or stay away from? Any comments or advice welcome.

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