Sample Frame – An Important Component For Data Collection In Market Research Survey
When we design a market research survey to generate data that can help our organization in its growth, we cannot just put a set of random questionnaires and expect it to provide results. A thorough understanding of various parameters that determines the success of a research experiment or survey is a must if you are looking for high-quality data for analysis.
Sending surveys to random people almost always results in wasted money and effort. Selecting a target population based on various factors such as gender, interests, demographics, etc. is the key to getting higher participation and response rates in any form of research technique.
Finding the correct sample population is a crucial step in a market research process and while it may sound like a complex phenomenon, it gets easier if you are aware of different sampling techniques. Before getting into the techniques, you have to first understand, “what is a sample frame?”
A sample frame is nothing but the source from which the target population is selected for carrying out the market research surveys. A sampling frame consists of 2 parts:
- Covered elements: These are the elements of the target population included in the research.
- Ineligible units: These are those elements that are not included in the target population on whom the research will be conducted.
Thus, a sampling frame is a list of resources utilizing which we can contact the members of the target population. Some examples of a sampling frame are:
- Registered voters of a particular area or state.
- Members of a particular association or club.
- All the housing units of a geographically defined location.
Thus, a well-defined sampling frame will include all the members who are eligible to become the elements of a target population having a unique identifier (such as a voter id number or the number of their housing unit). The source should also be a method by which these members can be contacted for participating in the research methodology for data collection.
Sample frame methods
For every data collection method, we need a different sampling frame. For example;
- For online research surveys, we will need a sample frame of resources containing the email addresses of each of the elements as their contact information.
- For telephonic surveys, we will need the sample frame of mobile numbers of each of the elements of the defined geographical area.
- For RRD block sampling, residential landline numbers of the chosen locality will be required in the sample frame.
- Face-to-face collection of data will require a sampling frame of those elements that can show up at a particular location along with a unique identifier such as a voter id.
The major problems that occur with designing a sample frame are duplication, clusters, under coverage, and over coverage. For example, if we are to contact the elements of the target population through their landline numbers, we may have to deal with under coverage because of the diminishing use of landlines since every member of the household carries a mobile phone.
After overcoming the problems associated with the sampling frame, it is an important part of market research surveys that provides the stepping stone for the success of the survey and an important data collection tool.