Sample size in qualitative research

Res Nurs Health. 1995 Apr;18(2):179-83. doi: 10.1002/nur.4770180211.


A common misconception about sampling in qualitative research is that numbers are unimportant in ensuring the adequacy of a sampling strategy. Yet, simple sizes may be too small to support claims of having achieved either informational redundancy or theoretical saturation, or too large to permit the deep, case-oriented analysis that is the raison-d'être of qualitative inquiry. Determining adequate sample size in qualitative research is ultimately a matter of judgment and experience in evaluating the quality of the information collected against the uses to which it will be put, the particular research method and purposeful sampling strategy employed, and the research product intended.

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Nursing Research / methods
  • Nursing Research / standards*
  • Nursing Research / statistics & numerical data
  • Sample Size