Investing in a Quality Sample

I came across an older post from @Carey_Azzara of AtHeath LLC, which Carey reposted this morning on Twitter, and I wanted to draw it back to your attention. The post, entitled “Demystifying the Temptation to Cut Corners on Sampling Costs,” makes the argument that, when developing a new survey instrument, a quality sample is worth the investment. And perhaps more importantly, that this is an area where cutting costs can come back to bite you.

Developing a quality sample is a foundational component of solid, reliable market research. A poorly developed sample will poison your results, creating bias that at best skews your results, and at worst, leads you down the wrong path altogether.

As Carey says in his post:

You can never fully recover from either a poorly developed sample that lacks validity.

  • No amount of analysis, regardless of how brilliant
  • No degree of insightful interpretation, regardless of your intellectual prowess
  • No manipulation of the variables, regardless of how cleverly done

Nothing can save you from a poor foundation. The building will collapse!

This is a fundamental principal, and the reminder – even for seasoned market research professionals – is well worthwhile. Be sure to check out the entire post on the AtHeath blog – The Research Playbook.

About Joshua Hoffman

Joshua Hoffman is Technology Specialist at Microsoft and a frequent contributor to Research Access.

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