Depth of sampling

At the beginning, its important to explore as much of the initial group as possible – for drawing up early categories. However later in the data generation and analysis cycles, this depth is not so important. The aim is to generate categories and properties thereof. Its suggested that what start as full books of notes become notes of those things relevant to existing categories and their properties or to the generation of new categories. This form of noting can become efficient – and can enable the researcher to undertake more data generation than if full transcripts were needed in every instance. It suggests too that groups can be studied quickly to check in with major hypotheses rather than going in at depth straight away.

In terms of depth of study of category – some categories will warrant deeper study than others – or will be less immediately evident than others – requiring further investigation. Core categories need to be sampled to saturation more than other categories. However until categories are clearly ‘core’ – i.e. have the greatest value in explaining the theory – its important to treat them relatively equally.

Barney G. Glaser & Anselm L. Strauss. 1967. The Discovery of Grounded Theory. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson.