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3 Questions You Need to Answer for an Accurate Market Research Sample


Obtaining a representative market research sample is crucial to getting the insights you need. Otherwise, the data will yield inaccurate or misleading trends, hurting your ability to make smart decisions in response.

Ensure that you get all the representative respondents you need along with enough control participants to differentiate signal from noise by asking yourself these three important questions when designing your market research recruiting strategy:

Who Enters the Marketplace Where My Products Are Sold?

One of the most harmful approaches to market research design or recruiting is to target only those who you think will be interested in buying your product. Firstly, your hypothesis on who is most apt to buy may be incorrect. Secondly, if you are wanting to examine a purchase decision, you want to include everyone who has the opportunity to buy your product or service, not just the people who actually do so.

While not every company sells a discrete product and not every market research question involves purchase behaviors, the same framework can apply. After all, most research plans intend to measure behavior and decision-making—so consider ways to include a representative sample of whomever may be faced with a decision, be it purchase-related, business-related or otherwise. You can find out the why of their choices thanks to having a solid basis of comparison.

Who Are My Respondents Representing? Themselves? Their Employer? Their Social Group?

In some situations, the role we are speaking for as social creatures could yield very different answers to the same question. This phenomenon is especially strong in the business world. When asking decision-makers and other top-level employees about their opinions, preferences or actions, make it clear whether you want them to speak from their personal opinions or whether you want to hear what they would choose on behalf of their employer. Subtle indicators like “as a business owner…” or “in your personal opinion” can allow the subject to place themselves in the right frame of reference. 

Are Participants Speaking on Behalf of Their Local Branch or the Entire Enterprise?

Going off the same idea as the question above, participants may yield different responses if they are describing the actions of their local office or unit, as opposed to the actions of the bigger organization as a whole. This differentiation is critical among large-scale franchises, regionalized branch models and other institutions.

Describe the scale you expect your participant to keep in mind, and keep your prompts consistent and clear to get the best responses.

Gain an Accurate Market Research Sample and Get Better Data as a Result

Using these three questions can allow you to avoid many of the problematic and mixed responses that occur under uncontrolled research conditions. Be specific in your intentions both when designing the research plan and when communicating to participants, and your misrepresentation worries could be that much smaller.

CFR, Inc. can help with both research design and recruiting so that your market research sample is perfect for your needs. Contact us with your request or any questions you may have.

Topics: sampling

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