You are here

Learn how to draw the right sample to reach your target audience.
Principles Express: On-Demand Market Research Education logoA reliable sample is the foundation of good market research. This online Principles Express course will teach you how to select the best sample for your research project. You’ll understand how well the sample covers your target population and how any potential sample biases may impact your results. Sampling in Market Research course also teaches you the ingredients of a high-quality sample and the right questions to ask your sample supplier.


Format: Online

Credits: 9 hours / .9 CEUs

When: Start anytime

One of the most important questions to answer when designing research is, “What group(s) of people does the business need to understand in order to make an informed decision about the issue at hand?” In the language of market research sampling, these people are the “target population.” Sampling is the means of specifying how the members of a population will be selected for study. The sample must be representative of the target population, that is, a microcosm in terms of demographic, attitudinal, and behavioral characteristics. If the sample is not representative, conclusions from the research will be biased and any insights developed incorrect. Guidance from non-representative samples will be irrelevant or, at worst, harmful to the business.

Probability vs. non-probability sampling
One of the most important developments in Market Research over the last 20 years has been the ongoing migration away from traditional probability sampling, mostly for telephone and in-person surveys – methods which have become increasingly difficult to execute as lifestyles and technology changes – to non-probability sampling, mostly for online and mobile surveys. Probability sampling is a rigorous, scientific, and theory-based approach to sampling. Non-probability sampling is less rigorous but faster and significantly less expensive.

Both methods and their variations are discussed in this Principles Express course. We describe the basics of probability sampling first because the overall principle of representation and many of the terms are also used in non-probability sampling.

Learning Objectives

After completing this course you should be able to:

  1. Explain how sampling works.
  2. Discuss the sampling design process: definition of the target population, best modes to reach that population, determination of the sampling frame, selection of sampling technique(s), determination of sample size, and execution of the sampling process.
  3. Explain the differences between probability and non-probability samples, the benefits, drawbacks, and when each might be used.
  4. Discuss the major types of probability sampling (simple random, systematic, stratified, and cluster), their benefits, drawbacks, and when each might be used.
  5. Discuss the major types of non-probability sampling (convenience, quota, and snowball), their benefits, drawbacks, and when each might be used.
  6. Explain the differences between landline and mobile phone sampling.
  7. Describe sampling techniques and sources specific to Internet data collection, including mobile research.
  8. Discuss the survey assignment process and understand the potential bias implications of routing, targeting, prescreening, and prior survey exposure.
  9. Describe the concept of consistent sampling both in terms of a consistent sample frame and how sample is drawn and quotas are set against that frame.
  10. Discuss how a single sample frame is not necessarily connected to a single mode and that having multiple points of contact for the same person can increase response rates.
  11. Describe how the screener section of the survey, as well as dropouts, data quality, and technical issues, will ultimately impact the “sample” that completes the survey.
  12. Describe the challenges in obtaining representative samples and how representative samples can be improved at the selection stage or through weighting.
  13. Describe when to use margin of error calculations and confidence levels when reporting results.
  14. Explain how to use the principles of sampling to make judgments about representativeness and bias in secondary data.
  15. Describe the challenges researchers face when developing samples for global studies.
  16. Identify the ethical considerations in sampling as applied to both end users (“clients”) and participants.

Successful enrollees earn a Digital Badge and .9 University of Georgia Continuing Education Unit (CEU).

This course is not intended to provide legal guidance or advice. While the codes of industry associations offer some guidance, researchers also may find it necessary to consult with local legal counsel in the jurisdiction(s) where the research is to be conducted in order to ensure full compliance

Who Should Attend?

  • Entry-level researchers looking for a solid introduction to sampling for market research.
  • Mid-level staff seeking to expand their skillsets.
  • Experienced researchers looking to catch up with the latest developments.
  • Corporations seeking professional development options for their internal training portfolio.
  • Supplier-side researchers seeking courses for new-employee onboarding
  • Researchers who plan or execute research projects.
  • Analysts needing to understand how a sampling method can create bias.
  • Client-side researchers responsible for writing RFPs and evaluating proposals.
  • Any researcher or analyst who needs to better understand key sampling concepts so that they can speak knowledgeably with their clients and sample providers.
  • People just entering the research field who want to understand the full process of market research from beginning to end.

Course Information

Course Number: 


Course Date Info: 
Course Fee(s): 

$359 - Standard Fee

$329 - Association Discount (Members* of: Insights Association; ESOMAR; Intellus Worldwide; ARF; AMA, and the attendees of TMRE 2018 and IIeX NA 2018.)

$50 - One-Month Extension (only one extension is granted per participant)

*Membership/Attendance will be verified.

Prepayment is required to be registered. Prices listed are per person (US Funds). Prices are subject to change.

Continuing Education Information: 

Students successfully completing graded components earn a Digital Badge and .9 Continuing Education Unit (CEU) from The University of Georgia. For details about the University of Georgia CEU, please download the file.

As a graduate of the course you will be recognized by industry associations, employers, peer groups and other professionals as having knowledge of the many data collection options that are available and for choosing the most appropriate method given the target population you need to reach. This recognition will help you advance in your company and the industry.

PRC logoThis course offers continuing education for research practitioners. If you are PRC certified through the Insights Association (IA), this course qualifies for 12 hours for continuing education. If you have any questions about PRC, please contact or dial +1-202-800-2545.

Certified Analytics and Insights Professionals of Canada logoCAIP Canada also recommends the course for candidates looking to fill in the gaps or gain a refresher in specific areas.

Course Author:
Keith PhillipsKeith Phillips – Senior Methodologist, Dynata
Keith is the Senior Methodologist in Dynata’s Knowledge department. Keith’s role at Dynata (formerly known as Research Now SSI) includes conducting primary research projects, helping clients with the research issues they face on a day to day basis, training colleagues, and working to support company-wide sampling initiatives. Prior to joining Research Now SSI in March of 2010, Keith was a Senior Research Manager in the Motion Picture Division of OTX Research, which he joined in 2004. Keith has presented webinars for the AMA, ARF, AAPOR, ESOMAR, GreenBook, and Quirk’s. He has presented live at AAPOR, ARF Rethink, and ESOMAR Congress among others. Keith graduated in 2001 from the University of Connecticut with a Bachelor’s of Science in Business Administration and a focus in Marketing.