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Purposeful Sampling for Qualitative Data Collection and Analysis in Mixed Method Implementation Research


Purposeful sampling is widely used in qualitative research for the identification and selection of information-rich cases related to the phenomenon of interest. Although there are several different purposeful sampling strategies, criterion sampling appears to be used most commonly in implementation research. However, combining sampling strategies may be more appropriate to the aims of implementation research and more consistent with recent developments in quantitative methods. This paper reviews the principles and practice of purposeful sampling in implementation research, summarizes types and categories of purposeful sampling strategies and provides a set of recommendations for use of single strategy or multistage strategy designs, particularly for state implementation research.

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This study was funded through a Grant from the National Institute of Mental Health (P30-MH090322: K. Hoagwood, PI).

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Correspondence to Lawrence A. Palinkas.

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Palinkas, L.A., Horwitz, S.M., Green, C.A. et al. Purposeful Sampling for Qualitative Data Collection and Analysis in Mixed Method Implementation Research. Adm Policy Ment Health 42, 533–544 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10488-013-0528-y

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  • Mental health services
  • Children and adolescents
  • Mixed methods
  • Qualitative methods implementation
  • State systems