Sampling can easily be misunderstood by marketers. Samples after all are tiny in comparison to the universe, and when research findings contradict marketers’ gut feelings, uncertainties may creep in. The basic knowledge of the theory of sampling provided in Chapter Sampling can help marketers’ better interpret research results, and bring them to act on the findings with measured level of confidence. The sampling fundamentals covered in this chapter are of relevance to several sections in this book.

Sampling methodologies in quant vary with the needs of the research as well as the characteristics of the universe population. For instance, in cases where the proportion of consumers is very low, pre-established panels of consumers would be recommended. Or when a sampling frame is not available, as with online research, quota sampling  can provide for a balanced respondent profile. Convenience sampling, such as when intercepting respondents at shopping malls, is also used especially for complex studies or when research accompaniments (e.g. product samples) are required. The majority of door-to-door (DTD) and telephone interviews deploy systematic random sampling or a combination of systematic random sampling and some other sampling method.

Standards for sampling error vary depending on the research requirements, however the most commonly used are 95%, 90%, and 99%. If the researcher uses a narrower confidence level (e.g. 99% instead of 95%), the confidence interval becomes wider.

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