Why most quantitative research is inefficient and wasteful?

Luca Bertolli © 123RF.com

BIZCOM – At last week’s Pamro conference, marketing research innovator, Mike Broom, spoke about why most quantitative research is inefficient and wasteful. When I caught up with him after the conference, Broom reaffirmed this statement and elaborated on it, stating that quantitative research is based on a questionable assumptions and practices.

He elaborated with the example of random probability sampling. This requires that every item in a defined universe has a known probability of being selected and then completing the survey. However, completing a survey is a voluntary action and therefore cannot be a known proportion. The proportion of people who refuse to complete is rarely reported, not only because it is a biased estimate.

Broom continued that attempting the impossible like this is expensive, inefficient and wasteful. The most common alternative is a quota sample. This is much less expensive and services most purposes adequately. The only known advantage of a probability sample over a quota sample is that probability theory helps you understand how wrong you are likely to be in using the data.

Broom adds that a third form of research sampling has gained in popularity over the past eight years, namely sampling from a panel. In fact, panels are a very old form, and are extensively used for large and important studies. TV audience measurement and retail auditing are two of the most obvious examples, with Nielsen dominating the market.

Comparing cost per data point of the three sampling theologies would show that panels are the least wasteful and most efficient methodology. However, panels are also most prone to false research and are most subject to caveat emptorSource