Snowballing and Facilitating Contacts…

A major part of conducting field interviews is the employment of the “snowballing” strategy. When you speak to one person, you ask if they have contacts, and then speak to those individuals, and ask for their contacts, until you have a sufficient number of interviews at the end of your fieldwork timeline. This is also a key method for Social Network data collection.

Today, after several months of contact while in the States, and from Karachi last year, I finally had my meeting with my contact at the Sustainable Development Policy Institute, and specifically the headquarters in Islamabad.

The Sustainable Development Policy Institute is a research policy think tank, conducting policy oriented research and advocacy relevant to Sustainable development in Pakistan. You can learn more about them here: 

It was a very productive and enjoyable meeting. I learned a little more about the Institute and met some other project associates. They will help facilitate contacts with various stakeholders and World Bank and USAID personnel of my interest, and possibly arrange some connections in my time in Peshawar next month, with a potential visit into FATA through the UN, which was something I was hoping would eventually pan out beginning with fieldwork in Islamabad.

After sharing some of my research and my preliminary network diagrams of my development program case studies, I was very excited to hear of their interest in learning the Social Network Analysis (SNA) methods. They asked to have me present about Social Network Analysis, the methods, the benefits and advantages of the methods, at a brown bag at the SDPI headquarters next week. I was very happy and thrilled largely because of their interest in SNA. I look forward to engaging more with them and other scholars at the SDPI in the coming weeks. It is just my fourth day in Islamabad and my 2nd weekday for meetings, and I believe it has been quite productive.


Later this evening, I met with an old friend. I had the opportunity to interview Mr. Amir Abdullah, a business man from the Federally Administered Tribal Areas in Peshawar last December. It was wonderful to see him again today as a short follow-up meeting. It was awkward because the last time we met at a restaurant, we were in the Khyber Pakhtunkwa province, which was more suitable for a traditional Pashtun man, where we ate delicious Chapli Kabaabs in a traditional Pashtun style setting, but this setting at Chai Khanna in Islamabad was more “modern.” He mentioned himself that he did not fit in with his traditional attire, the turban and the shalwar kamiz. People also were giving our table a few stares. Though he was not as comfortable there, we still had a very enjoyable time. And I had a chance to share my research with him again and I look forward to sharing his insights. He also encouraged me to share his photo in my dissertation as well. 🙂 I will be sure to include the one from Peshawar last December, rather than this “modern” restaurant in Islamabad. 🙂





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