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Population of Interest: Find one that fits yours

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In research, you need to identify a group of participants to focus the research efforts and objectives, this group is referred to as the population of interest. 

But how can you find the right population of interest for your research? In this blog, we will discuss how you can find your population of interest.

What is Population of Interest?

In a statistical sense, a Population of Interest is a set or group from which inferences are drawn by a researcher. It is not possible to study all variables. The researchers must identify a group that represents that target audience & can provide valuable information. 

For example, if a researcher wants to draw some general statistical data on dogs then the population takes all the dogs that exist now, ever existed, or will in the future, under consideration.

There are many factors that may influence your choice of the population of interest. You have to consider the research objective, accessibility of participants, budget, resources, etc. 

But who can be included in this group? The next section can add some clarification. 

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How broad is the scope of Population of Interest?

The population of interest is not restricted only to human beings. Animals, objects, measurements, etc. can be a part of the population of interest. It considers a group with characteristics shared by the members or objects in the group, i.e., population parameters. 

When you think about who you can include in your population of interest you need to identify the traits and characteristics the members must share. These members of the population of interest will represent the entire population you want to learn about.The group of interest required for the research is known as a Sample. The method used to select the participants for the survey is known as Sampling. 

For instance, a researcher is interested in a group of children of height 5ft to 5ft 6 inches. In that case, the population of interest will consider the inclusion criteria of children who are in the range of 5ft to 5ft 6inches. 

This brings us to the next question, how can you select a population of interest that helps you gather meaningful insights for the research.      

How to choose a Population of Interest?

Selecting the right population of interest can help you save the research data from a skewed conclusion. With the right population, you can make informed decisions on how to distribute your products or how to target different populations with the right marketing scheme. 

Let’s take a look at how you can select your population of interest and get it right.

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Identify the target market: 

You can build a general impression of the target market by using trends from the results. Collecting data from the entire population may often be impossible because of time constraints; also there may be issues with geographical accessibility. 

When choosing the right population of interest it is important to define the criteria each member of the population should share. The criteria or population parameter should justify your research goal. 

For example, if you want to study the driving factors of festive buyers you must include the customers who purchase only around festivals. Moreover, it should consist of buyers who made a purchase during the recent festive (4-week period) to ensure that respondents recall their experience. 

Researchers use the approach of inclusion & exclusion criteria when establishing their population of interest. 

Inclusion Criteria: The characteristics that all the members of the population share. 

Exclusion Criteria: The characteristics that help you decide who shouldn’t be included in your population of interest. 

Factors of Sampling:

Before conducting a survey you need to identify your target population. Selecting your Sample is essential to eliminate any data/feedback that has no use in your survey purpose. Therefore, take note of the following points when you need to identify your population of interest.

Sampling Frame: It includes the entire list of individuals or subject matter from which the sample will be drawn. The sampling Frame should include every aspect of the target population but not those that are not a part of the population.
For instance, you are conducting a survey of your Company employees. In this scenario, your Sampling Frame is the Company database which consists of the list of every employee of your office.

Sample Size: The individuals or object of interest that you want to include in your sample depends on several factors. Size and fluctuating population affect a sample size. 

Apply the population parameters: 

The next step is to apply these criteria. This ensures that the sample represents the population of interest. You can use a filter question at the beginning of your survey to ensure that people who meet the criteria are selected and others removed.

Assume a Margin of Error: 

It is challenging to know with certainty the accurate size of your sample. Use a margin of error calculator to ensure the effectiveness of the survey. 

The margin of error can help you determine the appropriate size of the sample.   

What are the sampling methods you can use to ensure there is no bias in the research data? We will be exploring the different types of sampling methods you can use. 

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Sampling Methods to determine Population of Interest

There are two methods of Sampling: Probability sampling and Non-probability sampling.

These methods help in market research with the study of the sample since the entire target population cannot be surveyed.

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Probability Sampling

Probability Sampling implies that everyone has a chance of being selected for the survey. This method of sampling does not support the bias. There are four forms of probability sampling.

Simple random sampling: Every member has an equal chance of selection in this sampling. For this method, the entire target population is involved. The sample is chosen randomly with techniques based on pure luck. 

  • For instance, let’s say you want to select a simple random sample of 50 employees from your office staff. You can give every employee in your office a number and then use a random number generator to select 50 employees. 

Systematic sampling: This method is slightly similar to simple random sampling. For this method, the members of the population are also assigned a number. But instead of selected samples randomly, they are chosen at a set interval. 

  • For example, form your 1000 employees this time you want to select based on systematic sampling. So, you select the 5th person in the first 10 numbers. Then you set the interval of 15, and so from number 5 onwards, it goes on like 20, 35, and 50, and so on. This is how you get your systematic sampling.

Stratified Sampling: This method divides the population into sub-populations based on specific parameters. Then, you can calculate the number of people who should be selected from each subpopulation. This form of sampling ensures that every subgroup is represented in the sample and no one is skipped. 

  • For example, under your company, there are 200 people between the ages of 25 to 35 and 800 people between ages 35 to 50. In this case, you can create a subgroup based on age and then select your sample.

Cluster Sampling: In this sampling method, you also create sub-groups based on similar characteristics of the entire sample. However, instead of creating a sample from each sub-group, you randomly select an entire subgroup in this method.

  • For example, let’s say you have to research a hotel with branches in 20 cities all over the country. It is not possible to travel across all the hotels to gather data. So you randomly select 5 hotels. This is your cluster sampling.

 

Select representative samples & generate insights.

Ultimate Guide to Sampling Methods breaks down selecting the best sample for your research.

Non-Probability Sampling

In a Non-Probability Sampling, individuals are chosen based on the researcher’s preference. The target population members do not have an equal chance of being selected in the sample. There are four kinds of non-probability sampling.

Convenience Sampling: In this sampling, the researcher uses individuals they can reach their convenience. However, the sample may not be representative of the total target population as it is based on proximity.

  • For example, you ask the students of your classes to participate in the survey on student safety on the university campus. The sample contains only students you teach, and this does not represent the entire student body of the university. 

Snowball sampling: Snowball sampling is like spreading your network. If you cannot access the population, you can select individuals by using participants to contact other people. 

  • For instance, your research requires dancers as your participants. However, there is no appropriate list for such criteria in your university. You meet one dancer, and then she puts you in contact with other dancers in the university and so on. 

Judgment/ Purposive Sampling: This sampling involves the researcher selecting a sample based on their judgment. They develop the sample based on the nature of the study and understand the individuals who fit the criteria for the sample.

  • For example, you want to know more about war veterans in your town. So you purposefully select individuals who belong to the category in your sample to obtain data on their experience.

Quota Sampling: Researchers in this sampling method select individuals based on specific traits or qualities. A quota is established so that the samples can be useful in collecting data for market research.

  • For example, let’s say you want to figure out how many staff in the university are between the ages of 45 to 60. You can apply a quota to the age group of 45 to 60 to gather data.

Advantages of Sampling in Population of Interest

  1. It is cost-effective and takes less time.
  2. It is high reliability and suitable for different surveys.
  3. Sampling allows for increased accuracy and the stability of the derived sample value from the target population. 
  4. The scope of sampling is high, especially in a relatively small population. 
  5. The convenience of space and equipment in the study of samples.
  6. Data collected is intensive and extensive.
  7. Sampling is an appropriate method of research when the resources are limited.

Wondering what will be the cost of conducting survey research using Voxco?

Selecting Population of Interest with Survey Panel

Identifying your population of interest doesn’t have to be a lengthy process. You can use an automated solution to select your representative sample based on the parameters of your choice quickly and efficiently. 

Voxco Audience is an automated market research platform that allows you to tap into a vast pool of 10Mn+ respondents across 50+ countries. We can help you choose your population of interest for your following survey. Get started today with us.

Summing up;

This sums up about population of interest and how you can find one that fits the purpose of your research. When done right, the population of interest increases the validity of the research data and helps you make informed decisions. 

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