DOI: 10.1177/004912418101000205 ISSN:

Snowball Sampling: Problems and Techniques of Chain Referral Sampling

Patrick Biernacki, Dan Waldorf
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

In spite of the fact that chain referral sampling has been widely used in qualitative sociological research, especially in the study of deviant behavior, the problems and techniques involved in its use have not been adequately explained. The procedures of chain referral sampling are not self-evident or obvious. This article attempts to rectify this methodological neglect. The article provides a description and analysis of some of the problems that were encountered and resolved in the course of using the method in a relatively large exploratory study of ex-opiate addicts.