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Hi Mark,

Good question!,

I do know that the actual method is described (without calling it  
'snowball sampling') in Howard Becker's 'Outsiders' (first published  
in 1963 but written more than a decade earlier). This does suggest  
that the method at least was used in the qualitative research  
tradition of the Chicago school in the 1930s-1950s in which Becker was  
trained. The method does seem appropriate for the sort of field  
research that these original pioneering ethnographies required. It  
could very well have been Coleman who coined the term, but the method  
definately seems to have preceeded its eventual name. I guess mailing  
Howard (http://home.earthlink.net/~hsbecker/ ) might be a good start  
to find out where he got it from.

Best regards,

Michiel van Meeteren,

University of Amsterdam


On Feb 22, 2011, at 0:45, Mark S. Handcock wrote:

> *****  To join INSNA, visit http://www.insna.org  *****
>
> Hi Hartti,
>
> Thanks.
>
> This particular cite actually seems to be a false positive as it  
> resolves to a survey done in 2000:
>
> <http://cospl.coalliance.org/fez/eserv/co:5672/ucsu20210tb023internet.pdf 
> >
>
> I will keep looking, thanks to helpful leads provided. I will report  
> back to this list what I find.
>
> Mark
>
> On 2/21/11 3:24 PM, Hartti Suomela wrote:
>> Just out of curiosity I decided to try out the Google Book search.  
>> The
>> following search returns all hits for "snowball sample" between  
>> 1900 and
>> 1958 (total of one)
>> http://www.google.com/search?tbo=p&tbm=bks&q=%22snowball+sample%22&tbs=,cdr:1,cd_min:Jan%201_2%201900,cd_max:Jan%2031_2%201959&num=10
>> <http://www.google.com/search?tbo=p&tbm=bks&q=%22snowball+sample%22&tbs=,cdr:1,cd_min:Jan%201_2%201900,cd_max:Jan%2031_2%201959&num=10 
>> >
>> There might be more from the earlier years as well (with "snowball
>> sampling" or "snowball sample", etc...I did not try this approach any
>> further...)
>>
>> best regards
>> Hartti Suomela
>>
>> On Mon, Feb 21, 2011 at 12:49 PM, Mark S. Handcock
>> <[log in to unmask] <mailto:[log in to unmask]>> wrote:
>>
>>    *****  To join INSNA, visit http://www.insna.org  *****
>>
>>    Hi all,
>>
>>    Does anyone know of uses of the term "snowball sampling" before
>>    Coleman's 1958 paper? Because it is a natural analogy for the
>>    process of collecting data via exploiting relational information
>>    collected from respondents, I expect is has been in informal use  
>> for
>>    a long time. Coleman (1958) who defines it as:
>>
>>    "Snowball sampling: One method of interviewing a man's immediate
>>    social environment is to use the sociometric questions in the
>>    interview for sampling purposes."
>>
>>    Are there earlier references in print?
>>
>>    Cheers,
>>
>>    Mark
>>
>>    James S. Coleman, "Relational Analysis: The Study of Social
>>    Organizations with Survey Methods", Human Organization, 28--36,  
>> 1958
>>
>>    ----------------------------------------------------
>>    Mark S. Handcock
>>    Professor of Statistics
>>    Department of Statistics
>>    University of California     Phone:  (310) 817-6778
>>    Los Angeles, CA 90095-1554.   FAX:   (206) 457-1953
>>    Web: www.stat.ucla.edu/~handcock <http://www.stat.ucla.edu/~handcock 
>> >
>>    internet: [log in to unmask] <mailto:[log in to unmask]>
>>
>>     
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