Sampling Size: A Dilemma In Market Research

Quantitative techniques have great relevance in market research given their possibilities to describe and infer behaviors and characteristics of all consumers. It is essential that market analysts who master these techniques have experience so that the inferences they establish meet a minimum of conditions so that they have statistical validity.

Although in an ideal world, conducting a census would be the best means by which we could know a population in its entirety, this type of data survey is still reserved for States given their size. The other alternative is to design samples that ensure that we obtain deductions that effectively describe the total population. Some conditions to take into account in the sampling design are the following:

  1. Review previous data on the object of study. In some cases we seek to update the data that we ourselves or third parties have already generated. In order to use the findings of past studies we have to review the parameters under which the final data were established. In addition, we have to verify that we do not work with results very far in time since their usefulness would be reduced or discarded.
  2. Make sure we know what type of sampling we are working with. To calculate the size of a sample in the simplest way, it is necessary to be sure that all members of a population have the same chance of being chosen to be studied. Otherwise, it will be necessary to invest more time and have more data at hand to know how many people we would have to contact.
  3. Define the confidence interval. This parameter will help us define a number of cases whose probability of presenting the characteristics of the population is high enough to make well-founded decisions based on data inferred by the sample. The most widely used confidence interval is 95% or 0.95
  4. Determine the necessary resources. In practice, many samples for the most common research objects are in the range of 1,000 to 2,000 individuals. Reducing the effective sample addressed compromises its representativeness and effectiveness to correctly describe the population under analysis. Nowadays, thanks to new technologies, it is possible to reduce a percentage of the cost of field surveys.

We know that defining a sample can be a somewhat complex step for some. Crucial decisions for people and companies depend on the result of this type of research. At Acertiva, we have experts ready to advise you on this and other issues related to the execution of quantitative techniques. Write to us now to put our experience in market research at your disposal.