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National Centre for Research Methods Review Paper
How many qualitative interviews is enough?
Expert voices and early career reflections on sampling and cases in qualitative research
Sarah Elsie Baker, Middlesex University
Rosalind Edwards, NCRM, University of Southampton
Students conducting a piece of qualitative research frequently ask ‘how many interviews is enough?’ Early career researchers and established academics also consider this question when designing research projects. In this NCRM Methods Review paper we gather and review responses to the question of ‘how many’ from 14 renowned social scientists and 5 early career researchers. The riposte to the question of ‘how many’ from most contributors is ‘it depends’. In considering what ‘it depends upon’ however, the responses offer guidance on the epistemological, methodological and practical issues to take into account when conducting research projects. This includes advice about assessing research aims and objectives, validity within epistemic communities and available time and resources