Letter from Egypt: On the Technique of Cow Dung Rolling

I just heard from one of my former students who is working in Juba, South Sudan, who wrote: “I am trying to explain the ‘snowball’ technique of sampling, which is a nightmare for Africans who have no clue what a snowball is.

So I described the process of rolling a snowball and how it gets bigger and bigger, and ask them if there is anything with which they are familiar that when rolled grows larger and larger. In that way we could give the ‘snowball’ technique of sampling an African name.

After a long silence, one of the trainees in the back pipes up: “That’s how we roll cow dung.”

So, the snowball technique is now the ‘cow dung rolling’ technique.”

Thought you may like to share with colleagues at the ISA, particularly Michael Burawoy.

Regards, Ray Jureidini
Center for Migration sand Refugee Studies, American University of Cairo