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ERIC Number: EJ1137557
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017-Feb
Pages: 19
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1525-822X
How Many Interviews Are Enough to Identify Metathemes in Multisited and Cross-Cultural Research? Another Perspective on Guest, Bunce, and Johnson's (2006) Landmark Study
Hagaman, Ashley K.; Wutich, Amber
Field Methods, v29 n1 p23-41 Feb 2017
There is much debate over the number of interviews needed to reach data saturation for themes and metathemes in qualitative research. The primary purpose of this study is to determine the number of interviews needed to reach data saturation for metathemes in multisited and cross-cultural research. The analysis is based on a cross-cultural study on water issues conducted with 132 respondents in four different sites. Analysis of the data yielded 240 site-specific themes and nine cross-cultural metathemes. We found that 16 or fewer interviews were enough to identify common themes from sites with relatively homogeneous groups. Yet our research reveals that larger sample sizes--ranging from 20 to 40 interviews--were needed to reach data saturation for metathemes that cut across all sites. Our findings may be helpful in estimating sample sizes for each site in multisited or cross-cultural studies in which metathematic comparisons are part of the research design.
SAGE Publications. 2455 Teller Road, Thousand Oaks, CA 91320. Tel: 800-818-7243; Tel: 805-499-9774; Fax: 800-583-2665; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: National Science Foundation (NSF)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Bolivia; New Zealand; Fiji; Arizona (Phoenix)
Grant or Contract Numbers: SES0951366; BCS1026865; DEB0423704; DEB9714833