Cadernos de Saúde Pública
On-line version ISSN 1678-4464
Print version ISSN 0102-311X
FONTANELLA, Bruno José Barcellos; RICAS, Janete and TURATO, Egberto Ribeiro. Saturation sampling in qualitative health research: theoretical contributions. Cad. Saúde Pública [online]. 2008, vol.24, n.1, pp.17-27. ISSN 1678-4464. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0102-311X2008000100003.
The transparency and clarity of research reports, emphasizing the data collection stage, are considered important parameters for evaluating the scientific rigor of qualitative studies. The current paper aims to analyze the use of saturation sampling as a methodological concept, frequently employed in descriptions of qualitative studies in various areas of knowledge, particularly in the field of health care. We discuss and confront the following topics: definition of sampling closure by theoretical saturation; difficulties in the acceptance and operationalization of intentional samples (with examples), adequate size of the intentional sample, the significance of valuing what is repeated or the differences contained in the sample reports, inadequate uses of expressions containing the term saturation, and finally possible metaphors for understanding the concept.
Keywords : Sampling Studies; Qualitative Research; Methodology.