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Blog: Quota Sampling in Market Research by Jim Whaley
Published 11/13/2020

What is Quota Sampling?


Categorized as a non-probability sampling technique, quota sampling enlists study participants until a relevant research category (or quota) has recruited enough respondents to reach holistic conclusions.


Unlike random sampling strategies where every member of a target population has an equal chance of being selected, quota sampling relies more on convenience sampling. What this means is that researchers use their own judgment regarding how many people they need to survey to acquire reasonable and authentic results.


For instance, let’s say that you have founded a startup that sells healthy, vegan food. To identify current demands in the food industry, you are undertaking some market research to check people’s critique of traditional animal-fat free food.


In your investigation, quota sampling will be the recruitment method of choice if you decide that you want to interview a sum total of 100 regular restaurant clients and then start surveying the folks in question until this number is reached.


With the focus being on ensuring that your desired quota is fulfilled, you don’t need to spend too much time wondering where the respondents will come from. The recruitment process can be as simple as administering an online survey to frequent dinner guests at a popular restaurant!


Given that quota sampling is a non-random sampling technique, it sometimes gets a bad rap because people assume that it leads to biased results. However, this argument can be refuted by the fact that the technique allows researchers to specify control categories and to a reasonable degree mitigate sampling bias. This ensures that the sample is as representative as possible.


Keeping in mind the same example as that of a vegan eatery owner, the quota you have determined doesn’t need to end with the number 100. You can create further specifications by dividing your quota into distinct categories.


The latter can be based on attributes such as gender, age, ethnicity, and spending habits. Your quota of 100 participants can be completed for instance, with 50 men and 50 women you interview at the places you visit. 25 of these 50 men and 25 of these 50 women can also be African American to ensure that racial representation is being achieved.


By dividing your quota into subcategories, you have essentially assigned a weightage to different traits that exist within a target population and confirmed that they will all be featured in your study. This step mitigates chances of bias as you won’t be making incomplete conclusions which would have been the case if you had excluded certain respondent traits from your market research

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