Background: Online recruitment and sampling can be particularly effective in targeting specific groups. The use of quota sampling (i.e., the nonrandom sampling of individuals belonging to a specific subgroup) in online panel research can help researchers obtain survey participants matching a specific condition of interest to the researcher. Despite the advantages of online samples, many researchers are either unaware of or skeptical about the use of online panels for sample acquisition.
Purpose: The purpose of this study was to describe the recruitment and respondent characteristics of two disparate samples derived from online panels for survey research. This information is needed to inform researchers on what to expect when administering an online survey and recruiting participants through a commercial research platform.
Methods: A commercial survey sampling and administration company, Qualtrics, was contracted to recruit participants and implement two Internet-based surveys. The first survey targeted adults aged 50-75 years old. This survey utilized sampling quotas to obtain a sample that was diverse with respect to household income and race. The comparison study focused on women aged 18-49 years and used quota sampling to help achieve a geographically balanced sample. The two surveys were approximately equivalent in terms of survey duration and participant remuneration.
Results: Although each survey recruited the desired number of respondents within a relatively short period of time, differences in the participant flow were observed between studies. Recruitment of the older adult sample took longer than the study focused on young adult women. Differences in the variables related to sampling quotas were also significant. Furthermore, the proportions of respondents who initiated, completed, screened out, failed a quality check, and failed to complete the survey were inconsistent across studies.
Conclusion: Results of this novel research have important implications for the development of future online surveys using samples recruited from online panels. Conclusions provide practical guidance related to Internet survey design and recruitment procedures.
Citation Format: Carrie A. Miller, Jeanine Guidry. A tale of two diverse Qualtrics samples: Information for online survey researchers [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the AACR Special Conference on Modernizing Population Sciences in the Digital Age; 2019 Feb 19-22; San Diego, CA. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2020;29(9 Suppl):Abstract nr A29.