What is a Sampling Frame in Survey Research
Learn about sampling frames for surveys and why you need to know how to build them (or know people that do)
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Introduction to Sampling
The process of sampling and its scope is as important as it is basic as a market research technique. Finding samples that are representative of the universe depends on many factors that affect precision as required.
It doesn’t sound easy until you learn the different techniques involved in sampling.
This article will explore the opportunities for sourcing samples or creating sampling frames…
What is Sampling Frame?
A sampling frame is a list or source from which you will select your sample participants in a pre-determined method. The list will have a structure to it. Meaning, it will have a unique identifier and a contact method for each member of the population. In this way, you can classify and code the information about segmentation characteristics that are already known.
What is a sample frame, and how does it help you collect a sample?
Collecting your sample implies you have a source or list of all the target population members from which to draw a sample and a method by which you will select the sample. A source can be any resource that contains the information required to contact every member of the target population. Examples may include…
- A list of registered voters from the county,
- A database of members of a national association,
- Geographically defined exchange blocks for computer-generated RDD telephone samples.
- A representative online panel of a country or other defined group
These are also referred to as your sample frame. It is important to note that a sample frame must include all eligible members of the target population. Each entry must be unique and have a unique identifier, and must have a method of contacting the member (preferably via the chosen data collection methodology).
Sample frame respondent contact methods and options
Important questions to consider during sampling frame selection
What is the sample size?
How many responses do I need? (sample size). This depends on several factors, including your need for precision.
Is the sample qualified?
Do members selected in this sample frame match the qualifications for the study target population? (is this qualified list of members a sample representative of a total population)
Is the sample representative?
How do I ensure all qualified subjects are included in the selection process? (sampling bias).
How do you ensure subgroups are represented?
How how do I avoid excluding subgroup subjects from the sampling frame? (selection bias), and properly use quotas to ensure all subgroup individuals are represented? (non-response bias).
How accurate are the results?
With what degree of precision (margin of error) can I forecast or state my conclusions? This sampling error is about the statistical accuracy of estimates from the target population, confidence interval, and sample size.
How accurate are the results?
With what degree of precision (margin of error) can I forecast or state my conclusions? This sampling error is about the statistical precision of estimates from the target population, confidence interval, and sample size.