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Responsive Design and Quota Sampling

I conducted a webinar on responsive design this week. I had several interesting questions. One of these was a question about responsive design and quota sampling.  The question was whether these two approaches are, in fact, different?

Of course, there are similarities in that the response process is being controlled -- somewhat -- by the researchers. And this may lead to "allocating" nonresponse to some groups over others. For example, if some group is responding at higher rates, we might allocate resources to the lower responding group. Quota sampling will stop data collection for groups that have reached their quota.

There are differences, however. Responsive design attempts to provide balanced response, but doesn't necessarily force that to happen. Further, responsive design is attempting to control the data collection process using a variety of approaches. Quota sampling only has one approach -- stop when the quota is full. 

I do worry that there may be a convergence, where responsive design become quota sampling. To me, the most interesting problems are actually re-allocating resources to improve the balance of respondents while maintaining or increasing response rates. Decreasing response rates in order to improve balance seems too easy. There are some examples where this can be shown to be helpful. I think we need more evidence to be convinced of this.


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