How we understand and define qualitative data is changing, with implications not only for the techniques of data analysis, but also how data are collected. New devices, technologies and online spaces open up new ways for researchers to approach and collect images, moving images, text and talk. The SAGE Handbook of Qualitative Data Collection systematically explores the approaches, techniques, debates and new frontiers for creating, collecting and producing qualitative data. Bringing together contributions from internationally leading scholars in the field, the handbook offers a state-of-the-art look at key themes across six thematic parts: Part I Charting the Routes Part II Concepts, Contexts, Basics Part III Types of Data and How to Collect Them Part IV Digital and Internet Data Part V Triangulation and Mixed Methods Part VI Collecting Data in Specific Populations

Sampling and Generalization1

Margrit Schreier


In their textbook about empirical research methodology in the social sciences, 6 and Bellamy write: ‘Making warranted inferences is the whole point and the only point of doing social research’ (2012, p. 14). Empirical research, in other words, does not limit itself to describing those instances included in a given study. It wants to go beyond those instances and arrive at conclusions of broader relevance.

This is true of qualitative just as much as of quantitative research (on the extent and type of generalizations in qualitative research see Onwuegbuzie and Leech, 2010).2 When Lynd and Lynd (1929), for example, set about studying the community they called ‘Middletown’ in the early twentieth century, their goal was not ...

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