Convenience Sampling : Definition, Examples and Tips

The Ultimate Guide to Convenience Sampling

Get a step-by-step guide for choosing the correct representative sample for survey research.

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What is Convenience Sampling?

A type of non-probability sampling, Convenience Sampling involves collecting samples from the population that is closer to the researcher. It is also known as accidental sampling, opportunity sampling, or grab sampling because the researcher can use the respondents who are conveniently available at the researcher’s reach. Convenience sampling can be used in the best market research tools available.

Gathering samples from the entire community is not always possible, at those times researchers use convenience sampling. The process is uncomplicated, prompt, and because it uses an audience of close contact, it is economical as well. 

The sample includes people who are in the researcher’s close proximity such as workplace, school, club, apartment complex, etc. The factor that whether the sample represents the entire population is not taken under consideration. However, with this sampling technique, you can gather opinions, habits, reviews, etc. in an easy and simple way.

Sampling Methods Guide

Download the guide to understand step-by-step process of selecting the best sample for your next survey research

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Examples of Convenience Sampling

In business and Market research, convenience sampling provides data from the perspective of the audience about the brand image and reputation. It is also used to obtain opinions about newly launched products or on a small-scale project. 

  • Let’s say a student is planning to open a food truck outside a college campus. They need to collect opinions based on the student’s choice of food to create their menu. The student will ask their friends and other students around campus to collect the data. margin of error calculator. 
  • You may have come across people outside a mall or convenience store with pamphlets and questionnaire surveys. This is also an example of a convenience sample, the people with pamphlets ask the people on the street to participate in the survey. The researcher may not know these people but they are available within their reach at the moment. You can use paper surveys or a mobile offline survey software.
  • You need to create an online survey on the best mobile phones and the desired feature for your online blog. You create a survey with relevant questions and send them to your email and phone contact and share the link on your social media accounts. This way people from your daily contact can respond to the survey and you can gather the data in an easy manner.

When can you use Convenience Sampling?

Convenience sampling has certain issues, such as you cannot generalize the result to a larger population. However, in some cases, it is the only option that can give you the result. Sometimes, it is the only method when you cannot get a list of respondents or a large population. Convenience sampling is easy to conduct. Also when you need results in a short time and have a low budget, it is the method that can save you.

For instance, if your company has 3 offices and you are conducting a survey on how the employees feel about their wages. It is not possible for you to go through the entire body of employees of all the 3 offices. So, you grab the employee in your office and the ones you come across to conduct the survey. Hence, the alternate name, ‘grab sampling’.

In American universities, the convenience sampling survey method was used to understand the association between perceptions of unethical consumer behavior with demographic factors. Understand how to collect relevant information using demographic survey template.

What are the advantages of using Convenience Sampling?

Provides results quickly:

In cases when time is limited and you need to collect data fast, convenience sampling is used by many researchers. The simplicity factor of this non-probability sampling makes it a quick and easy procedure, unlike other non-probability samplings.

Cheap method of sampling:

Money is another factor it saves. A researcher includes the people who are in close proximity to the researcher, hence it is a cost-effective market research tool. The researcher can generate data with little to no investment. Students with low or no budget can use convenience sampling because they can make use of the people in their contact to obtain data for their survey.

See how you can conduct cost effective survey research using Voxco Platform. 

Easy to use:

The respondents in convenience sampling are readily available to the researcher. The members of the sample can be friends, families, employees, regular customers, and random people on crowded streets. Therefore, the responders are accessible to the researcher, and collection of data, as a result, is an easy task.

Provides Qualitative Information:

On certain issues, it can provide in-depth information. For example, you can add a survey with the bill presented in your restaurant. The customers can fill the survey and give you their opinion, comments, and review about your restaurant. This way you can gather information relevant to the success of your restaurant with the help of convenience sampling.

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Disadvantage of Convenience Sampling

Does not produce a representative result

Convenience sampling is a type of market research which uses a small part of the population to make assumptions about the entire population. However, generalization of the result to the larger population is not always possible. The convenience sampling result may vary widely depending on the scale of the population. For small-scale projects, a large sample size and data may provide representative results.

Biased

The result in convenience sampling can be biased because some people may take part in the survey and some may not. This can disturb the purpose of the survey and make the result futile. 

The biased result can be prevented by using probability sampling along with convenience sampling. This can help derive more accurate results.

Gather more insights from your samples in 4 steps

Efficiently analyzing Convenience Sampling

It is mostly recommended to use probability sampling. But, when convenience sampling is the only option follow the tips to have more efficient results. 

  • With a large sample size, the method of cross-validation can be used on one-half of the data. To see if the result is a match you can compare the result of the first half with the second half of the data. 
  • When conducting a sample it is advised to take multiple samples during the period of the research. This way you may be able to produce reliable results.
  • Repeating the research several times can bring you closer to be results that can be generalized to a large population.

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