Opportunistic or emergent sampling


Opportunisitic or emergent sampling occurs when the researcher makes sampling decisions during the process of collecting data.  This commonly occurs in field research.  As the observer gains more knowledge of a setting, he or she can make sampling decisions that take advantage of events, as they unfold.

Why use this method?

A flexible research and sampling design is an important feature of qualitative research, particularly when the research being conducted is exploratory in nature.

When little is known about a phenomenon or setting, a priori sampling decisions can be difficult. 

In such circumstances, creating a research design that is flexible enough to foster reflection, preliminary analysis, and opportunisitic or emergent sampling may be a good idea.

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