When conducting studies, procuring representative sample should always be a top priority for researchers. For those who aren’t familiar with the term “representative,” it means ensuring that your data represents the sentiments, opinions, or behaviours of the particular population you are surveying. Representative sample are vital to procuring research results that are accurate and unbiased. We all want to feel confident that the data and recommendations that we present to our clients are accurate and match the population. As the industry transitions from offline research to online, there has been apprehension as to whether we can achieve true representation of the population through online panels vs. traditional research methods – despite the fact that online sampling continues to prove that it is, in fact, highly representative. The secret? Diversifying your sample sources.
Should we be thinking more about where we source online respondents?
I believe we should always consider the sources of online respondents, as a basic research best practice. Fortunately, many companies have invested and worked hard in building larger panels to make sure they are able to meet the growing demand for online research participants. Thus, it makes the work of sourcing appropriate respondents much easier for you, the researcher. It has been proven that, through online sampling, we can achieve substantial sample sizes with representative quotas in place. We are sourcing large sample sizes of broad populations, targeting niche respondents at a fraction of the cost and speed, and now there is no looking back. It makes sense that this would be the future of research. And this is why so many people are investing in the industry.
Are quotas enough to ensure representation?
As you know, quotas are the set number and/or percentage of respondents that you need to complete your survey. These numbers are filled by screening respondents to ensure they meet your requirements – which are usually based on demographics or specific attributes. Of course, we all agree that quotas are imperative in making sure that we gather opinions from each group. But are we doing enough to think about whether respondents from a single panel are representative enough of the population? Each individual panel of respondents will have their own way of recruiting respondents, arguably creating biases based on those methodologies. So, if you limit yourself to only one panel, there is a chance your sample will be less representative. This is why we recommend utilising more than one panel to procure sample.
How to eliminate biases and ensure sample representation
Ultimately, by expanding the pool of respondents available to you, the more representative your sample will be. The Lucid Marketplace, for example, provides access to 250+ suppliers, all of which have varying approaches when it comes to recruiting and engaging with respondents. By utilising the Marketplace and naturally multisourcing suppliers, you are much more likely to achieve a blend of respondents that have been recruited via varying methodologies – therefore ensuring a true representative sample. An additional benefit of multisourcing sample is the ability to tailor supplier blends for trackers, ensuring data continuity and eliminating the chances of unwanted data spikes. It’s also particularly helpful if you are transitioning a tracker and need to ensure that your blend is consistent. Finally, with a transparent platform like the Lucid Marketplace, sample is not white labeled. Researchers know exactly where their sample is being sourced. So, with the ability to select respondents from a transparent Marketplace of suppliers, you can be confident that your sample will be highly representative. If you are interested in learning more about the Lucid Marketplace, please contact our team for a demo.