Sample – Blended, Not Stacked

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In the world of online quantitative research, it can be very common for a sample provider to “fall short” of providing the agreed-upon number of completes for a survey.  Most of the time, this may not be entirely the sample provider’s fault – it’s because the study specifications that were assumed prior to launch don’t match what has occurred in field.  It’s common for the incidence rate to come in lower than expected, the length of the interview to be longer, or a quota to be unexpectedly tough to fill.

Researchers are often left scrambling to get the completes they need to close their study.  They throw new sample providers on as quickly as possible in hopes that they get the needed completes quickly so they do not miss their deadlines.  When this is done, sample providers are “stacked” on top of one another.  When this method is used, it’s typically not planned ahead of time and the panels added usually have not gone through the same screening process that the original sample provider may have gone through.  There have been many a late Friday afternoon where researchers are scrambling to add a new sample provider to get the completes they need over the weekend.  This is not best practice and may introduce risk into your study.

You are probably thinking…there has to be a better way, right?  There is! Instead of lining up a single supplier, then scramble and stack a bunch of suppliers at the end of the project to close it out, we recommend blending sample providers.  Blending sample means taking a strategic approach to selecting the sample providers you use on your study based on their behaviors and attitudes, and combining them so they complement each other, which also reduces bias.  For tracking studies, blending sample can help ensure you maintain consistency over time wave-to-wave. 

We believe that blending sample is a best practice for all studies. While it can be tougher to manage multiple partners at a time, it can lead to quicker field times, less bias in the data, less scrambling to end fielding, and overall better data. 

To take the burden of managing multiple suppliers off your hands, look for a supplier that is not only an expert in managing multiple suppliers, but also is an expert in the sample landscape.  Someone like EMI. 

To learn more about our sample blending capabilities, check out the IntelliBlend(r) page on our website.