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NON PROBABILISTIC SAMPLING USE IN QUALITATIVE MARKETING RESEARCH. HAPHAZARD SAMPLING.

VOLUNTEER SAMPLING
Gabor Manuela Rozalia Petru MaiorUniversity of Tg.Mure, rozalia_gabor@yahoo.com

According to marketing, the firm should focus on the market, to a market for it, it should involve in the economic-social environment structures, it should syncronize its activity with the dynamism and directions enforced by this environment development. To achieve all this, the firm needs permanent information, that is increasingly considered lately as being an implicit part of the modern firms resources along with its human, material and financial resources. Intuitive, subjective factors appear in the market research (and they have a major significance) and in designing a market research it should take into consideration not only consumers requirements but their wishes and aspirations as well, things that are less measurableand are more difficult to implement mathematically or statistically but with a major importance for the firm.. A market research based on non-probabilistic sampling methods may provide relevant and valuable information about the consumers wishes, about their expression ways (wishes related to existing products and future wishes as well) and the same are those providing the objective side in taking decisions by the firms managers.This paper describes two types of non -/ probabilistic sampling wich can be used with succes by the romanian firms in marketing research. Key words: non probabilistic sampling, convenience sampling, volunteer sampling

1. Non probabilistic sampling, theoretical and practical issues


The non-random sampling is found in specialty literature with various names, non-probabilistic sampling, oriented sampling, empiric sampling, subjective sampling respectively but all refer to the same principle i.e. the national and voluntary selection of sample units respectively, nevertheless adapted to the established sampling type. The non-random sampling, is less stringent, is easier to apply, it does not involve taking representativeness into consideration as the desirable purpose for the sample description. These sampling methods usually leave the researcher to decide which of the investigated population components will be selected. As the case stands, schemes in this category are prevailingly used in case of exploratory research, examination and research carried out by the method of observation and qualitative research. Therefore, in the practice of statistic sampling, a series of non-random methods has developed depending upon statistic population features and research objectives. These are also called techniques of rational choice or pragmatic sampling. The main feature of these sampling methods is provided by the rational choice of units that are subject to statistic observation. These methods are focused on assuring the sample representativeness in relation to the reference population structure using a series of key features. The selection of features is motivated by available information, as well as their implications within the research. The sample representativeness is driven by the sample volume, and by the quality of data series related to the features used to determine the population structure. Typical to these methods is that a sampling base is not necessary and the probability that population units belong to the sample is not taken into account. To set the sample, variables that are determined by several factors are chosen: research objectives, variables chosen should be in correlation with variables studied, distribution of variables in related population must be known accurately. The advantages and disadvantages following the application of non-random techniques are presented in tabel no. 1:

Table no. 1

Advantages

Disadvantages

1.They can be used succesfully when we have no access (or 1. As units are included in the sample there is not) to a list of the studied population (for instance, there arbitrarily, probabilities of units to access the is not a list of those who prefer sandwiches) sample cannot be calculated. As the case

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2. It is the only method that can be used when the target population is hard to be identified (hackers) or is very specific (for instance, the executive directors hired in major companies, software engineers etc) 3.A sampling base is not necessary 4.They are less expensive than the random ones 5. Allow to achieve the results more quickly than the others

stands, the variance and estimator movement cannot be calculated

2. Because of the manner of unit sampling from the sample, there is no guarantee that all the simple units of population have the chance to access the sample

6. It can be adapted in the run when the research topic is difficult 3. A distorted sample can be generated

There is not a calculation formula to set the size of such a non-random sample, but, especially in qualitative research, it can be gradually improved, and results are also analysed gradually. When the last selected units do not bring new information, useful to study any longer, we can deduce that our sample is saturated and research is completed. Of the methods in this category, the rational techniques of generating a sample most used, the following can be mentioned (figure 1): quota sampling, routes method, vaolunteer sampling technique, street surveys, random sampling, ad hocsampling, expert sampling, network sampling (snowball) etc. As the variance and estimator movement is not calculated, the only way to evaluate the quality of data obtained is to compare them with data existing from a former observation or from another sampling. These techniques provide results close to random sampling, if population is homogenous, and the research (operator) intervention n establishing the sample is irrelevant.
Snowball sampling Conventional sampling

Standardized sampling

Type units procedure Self-sampling Evaluative sampling Routes sampling Haphazard sampling Nonrandom sampling Quota sampling

Volunteer sampling

Figure no. 1 Main non-probabilistic sampling methods

It is the sampling method most used in market surveys according to several specialists, and is considered as being specific to exploratory sampling. Compared to random sampling it was noticed that it requests lower costs but, for a successful method, in the process of unit selection it is recommended to use some experts, insiders of the studied population, and the profound knowledge about population and particularly of population uniformity rate. It is also recommended when, there are such kind of situations in the marketing practice and it is impossible to meet the conditions of performing a random sampling.

2. Haphazard sampling (convenience or haphazard or accidental sampling)


The principle of respondents haphazard sampling, consists of selecting deliberately units from the interesting population, available at a given moment and in a certain place. For instance, in a shop only people 956

who are willing to provide the time necessary to fill in the questionnary related to sampling are interviewed i.e. related students in the first year who attend their classes, people at the cinema, the first ten cars entering a parking, the first ten people attending a tournament, women placed in the first row at a concert, the first one hundred buyers entering a supermarket department etc. The most common method is street interviewing of people, the representativeness rate depending on the time when selection is done, on location, being able to predict in certain situations the responden probability of being respondent selected, for instance of those who live or work in the area where selection is done.

Figure no. 2 Haphazard or convenience or accidental sampling

In marketing, this sampling type is used for testing a questionnary prior to its application in general population population, in explorative research or as a preliminary research. One of the reasons for which this sampling is used is that, apart other sampling types, and especially the probabilistic ones, haphazard sampling is easy to implement. For instance, to evaluate a pro program for parents, we may select a sample made of availability and accessibility concerning employed mothers, housekeepers, single mothers, young mothers (teenagers) and those with more than three children, thus getting different opinions. This sampling type is recommended in the exploratory stages of marketing surveys and may be the generation e base of work hypothesis for actual sampling.

2. Volunteer sampling
The principle of this sampling type is self selection of statistical units in sample whose mai advantage is the self-selection main fastness of building the sample but that satisfies the representativeness requirement very seldom, the researcher having a low control over the sample. For the first time this sampling has been used for psychological research and for testing pharmaceuticals where testing practically the random principle of selecting the sample units is difficult and wrongful to use. VVolunteer sampling is subject to error at the highest level of all non-probabilistic sampling types probabilistic due to the selection principle, respondents decide by themselves if they participate or not in sampling ple, respectively. The advantages and disadvantages of this sampling are shown in Table no. 2. Table no. 2 Advantages Disadvantages

1. It allows collection of a significant 1. Abatement between the values of volunteer sample characteristics and amount of very low cost information those of population in general, may lead to distorted indicators t (various information) 2. Distorsion is higher than in case of previous random sampl sampling due to the volunteer population character 2. It applies easily (practically there is no rule to apply) and is cheap and these are real advantages for small firms. 3. People are quite different: some are more venturesome, others have more liberal opinions, different educational and professional status, some nions, people have a higher need of affirmation than remaining population, some have a lower authority, some are less conventional in aproach, others are more sociable etc.

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4.Error produced in these selections is mainly due to the higher availability of some population members to participate in such sampling 3. Most times, in order to build the sample, the researcher contacts his friends, relatives, colleagues 5. It is necessary to check if there is any difference between volunteers and non-volunteers 6. Those who offer voluntarily have further information about the topic investigated by the non-volunteers 7. Sample non-representativeness

When making such sampling one may start from the assumption that, by volunteer sampling, the possibility of entraining a great variety of people types occurs. An increasingly used way of volunteer approached of students is posting of questionnaries on the internet and this type of volunteer selection may drive a significant representativeness if more sources are used i.e. posting of questions on various web sites implicitly driving the selection of some various people. The greatest advantages, admitted by researchers, concerning respondent selection method i.e. the on line method is speed, cost efficiency ratio on average, an on-line sampling is cheaper by 30 % than phone sampling and response rate is high. As a way of volunteer recruitment, the questionnary is published in daily newspapers, or it is distributed within local organizations or community groups. There are two main types of volunteers in literature: Those who offered as volunteers before meeting the sampling operator; this category includes those people who see an ad in a local newspaper where volunteers for a survey are required; Those who are part of a captive group, as usual familys members, individuals in a waiting room in a group practice etc. In these cases, the problem is if these people are real volunteers as most times, people selected in this way do not reject their participation in sampling. The main difference between self-sampling and haphazard sampling is that, in the first case, respondents are asked if they want to participate in and only those who accept are interviewed, in the second case, respondents located in a certain place and at a given moment are interviewed.

Conclusions
Intensive use of the non-probabilistic method of extracting units in sample is recommended for the market survey taking into account that, in marketing, producers and service suppliers are aware of the consumers key characteristics, those characteristics practically used for the segmentation related to products or product range. Time and budget alloted to a market research have a major importance in marketing, and in market research respectively, and most sampling types described in this paper meet these requirements. In market research, significance is shown by quantitative variables and what any firm whose strategy is market development and extension is trying to have, and having an as high as possible market share namely the measurement of qualitative variables, consumers attitude intensity, opinions, intentions, reasons respectively, this difficulty of measuring the market intangible characteristics is possible by means of nonprobabilistic sampling methods.

Literature
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