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Sampling in qualitative research: a proposal for procedures to detect theoretical saturation

A qualitative study's methodological transparency is considered a key factor for achieving its reliability and should be guaranteed by the researchers. Closing the sampling process by saturation is a common approach, but it is rarely made explicit in research reports. Qualitative researchers also commonly experience technical difficulties in objectively identifying saturation. This article proposes a method to organize sample closing by saturation, with a sequence of eight procedural steps for treating and analyzing data collected through open or semi-structured interviews or focus groups. The article aims to help researchers objectively explain how and when saturation occurred and to allow their readers to know how this process occurred.

Sampling Studies; Sample Size; Qualitative Research; Methods

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