How big of a sample? Survey says – Size does matter

So you’ve already decided that you want to run an online survey to get some feedback from a certain target market. Maybe you’ve already written the survey and you just need to get it out to field. But how many responses will be enough for your survey goals?

The answer to this question lies in the goals of your survey. Are you looking for statistically significant results from a very targeted and specific market? Are you looking for general feedback from a specific market? Or are you looking to actually identify who your target market is? How much is your budget for the survey? And will you be able to set quotas for the final demographics of your survey?

Depending on your goals, the sample size can vary widely. In our experience, if you are looking for more general results, you’re going to want to shoot for a minimum of 250 – 350 respondents for your survey. This way, you will still have plenty of respondents in your groups, should you want to drill down your results into various sub-groups.

If you already know who your target market is and have a very specific survey goal in mind, then our experience at Lab42 suggests a sample size of at least 100. 100 respondents will allow to you obtain a directional pulse for the results of the survey. As with all market research, the more respondents you obtain, the more significant your results will be.

Now, if you don’t actually know who your target market is, and you want to obtain a general or U.S. representative sample, then you’ll always want to go for a larger sample (500+ respondents). This will allow you to slice and run additional data analysis on your results. You’ll then be able to determine which segments respond most positively to your concept.

Choosing the proper sample size for your survey can make all the difference with your results. Always consider the goals of your survey, research budget and methodology when fielding and obtaining your results. If you’re not sure, talk to a professional researcher. They’ll be able to help you with your decision and will help ensure your research meets all the goals you set for it.

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