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Pondering Panda exposes flaws in market research at SAMRA conference

Pondering Panda CEO Diane Gantz tackled one of the biggest challenges facing the research industry at this year’s Southern African Marketing Research Association’s annual conference – unrepresentative samples, which lead to invalid results being delivered to clients. Her paper, ‘Sampling – The Acid Test’, addressed the flaws in traditional sampling designs, and demonstrate how coverage bias and non-response can skew the results of surveys, leading to incorrect findings. Gantz used case studies to show the significant advantage multiple sampling frames can deliver to clients.

‘The fact is, if you are only using one sample provider, results are going to be biased, whether respondent selection is supposedly random or not,’ said Gantz. ‘This was demonstrated yet again during the recent UK elections, where all of the pollsters failed to predict the majority win by the Conservative Party, even though some of the world’s largest research groups were undertaking polls, using traditional sampling methods. What researchers need to do in the new world of digital research is to ensure that they are conducting surveys across multiple respondent bases, chosen to ensure representivity of the target market. While this doesn’t eliminate the problem, it does mitigate it by balancing out the biases inherent in individual bases or groups, as no single base or sampling frame is free of bias. This is exactly what we’re doing at Pondering Panda, and we’ve seen dramatic improvements in validity, which I look forward to presenting later this week.’

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