What Is the Optimal, or Minimum, Sample Size for Statistical Validity in Government Market Research? - (Archived)

By Cynthia Poole, Director of Research Services, Market Connections, Inc.

Many clients often ask about the ideal sample size required for achieving statistical validity in market research.  This is an outstanding question and the answer is:  it depends.

One of the keys is understanding the value and difference between qualitative and quantitative research.  With qualitative research, if you do 50 in-depth phone interviews among targets, the real value is the insights gleaned from the depth of these conversations—the reasons, perceptions, feelings and beliefs behind participants’ responses—rather than statistical data.

With quantitative research, it is all about determining the size of the total audience of interest, or “universe,” and then you can formulate the necessary sample size in order to have statistically valid data.  For example, if you are targeting military logistics leaders, there may be only 1,000 people making up the universe of people available to survey. With an audience of this size, if we connected with 150 of these decision-makers and influencers, then the resulting data would have a measurably high level of validity.

Be sure to read the full article on how to determine the most ideal sample size for achieving statistically valid research results here.


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