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Commentary: Quality in Survey Data Starts Before the Research

The Bias-Variance Dilemma in Nonprobability Sample

As researchers, we regularly (and rightly) focus on quality at a micro level – within a set of survey data, for example.
For consumers of research insights, however, quality is a broader and more fundamental issue, as a client reminded me when explaining what quality meant to his organization:

“Quality is being confident that you can trust the data to accurately represent the audience, so you can make the right decision at the speed of business.”

Achieving this level of quality requires a multi-faceted commitment to high standards and best practices throughout the research process. It starts with the data for the sample used to conduct research, particularly online. Because online research is nonprobability sampling, it requires greater rigor in sourcing if the sample is to be accurately representative and yield data to support important business decisions.