According to Government Executive magazine, there are THREE bad research techniques that will ruin your organization's work and they all have to do with one thing: SNOWBALLING. According to the magazine, these three techniques are:
- Snowball Sampling
- Snowball Research
- Snowball Point-of-View
Snowball sampling is a research method in which you identify a group that you wish to study, and then ask members of the group to identify acquaintances to also join the study. Because of this, the sample group is no longer random. It does not represent the population at large. Without a completely random sample, a researcher will be unable to apply the results of their research to the population at large. The value of the research is completely diminished by this.
In a snowball research technique, a researcher may read an article, and then look at that author's sources. While a researcher can continue to find more and more sources using this technique, there are serious drawbacks. A researcher may be able to find a large number of sources, but the information can often be biased, and lead to serious gaps in results.
A snowball point-of-view, which is also known as confirmation bias, there is an extreme tendency for researchers to test their hypothesis using only positive examples, and not any negative ones. This means that researchers tend to use sources that agree with their hypothesis or argument, instead of listening to respondents that go against the hypothesis. This leads to a snowballed perspective and flawed outcome in research.
So remember people: Stay away from SNOWBALLS when it comes to research!!!