Questionnaires are the most popular method of extracting information from people. They are usually conducted by post, telephone or in person, now commonly on the internet. Questionnaires are easy to administer and easy for respondents to deal with. They simplify the analysis of results, and can provide detailed information. A useful way of delivering a questionnaire is online. One way of doing this is to ask the public to fill in a questionnaire, which then enables them to register for access to a website.
However, questionnaires are easy to ‘cheat’ on and a market research agency will ensure that ‘control questions’ has been built in to check that the questionnaire has been filed in in a suitable fashion. When gathering market research, it is important to make sure that the data you get is valid, meaning it is trustworthy and reliable. By ensuring that the information is valid, it also ensures that it will be useful as well as valuable.
Two of the limitations I encountered on when evaluating my survey my small sample size and the location where I decided to carry out my survey. My sample size, consisting of 20 participants, was too small to be able represent the target market segment aged 16 – 18. “A small sample size may result in the lack of statistical representation” , as a smaller sample sizes get increasingly further away from the entire population.
In reality there is simply not enough; time, energy, money, labour/man power, equipment, access to suitable sites to measure every single item or site within the parent population or whole sampling frame. Therefore an appropriate sampling strategy is adopted to obtain a representative, and statistically valid sample of the whole. Also larger sample sizes are more accurate representations of those whom, so the sample size chosen should balance between obtaining a statistically valid representation, and the time, energy, money, labour, equipment and access available.
This issue with the location was that participants that completely the survey was either a friend of mine or was at the library at Reigate College. The survey carried out was not representative of people who I didn’t know that did not attend. To be able to reach a larger sector of the targeted 16 – 18 year olds as well as reach those in different geographical locations – (due to different trends and sub-cultures in different areas, that may influence the preference of flavour for a teenager); surveys could be distributed through postal mail, email and via social media sites. Although, too large of a sample could cause the insignificant finding’s to become significant.
When the survey is distributed widely over the targeted geographical location, the survey results become less biased. Postal mail only has the cost of printing and the postal mail; as via a link on social media sites can give instant results from participants. However, for postal mail especially the response rate can be quite low and participants many not answer honestly all the questions. To increase the validity an incentive for taking the survey can be introduced, such as a 1 in 10 prize draw.
This could also increase the willingness of the participants as well as the validity. Regardless, surveys cannot afford to be time consuming as they are dealing with peoples time; so the need to be simple, quick and have short comprehendible questions. This limits the answers of participants and therefore restricts the valid information that can be received – for example reasons behind why 40% prefer exotic fruits flavour. To be able to reach a larger sample of the target market, I could have sent out emails to students as it is the cheaper and quicker alternative to postal mail. With a larger sample size and broader geographical location, the soft drink when produced can be then promoted in these areas.
The third limitation of my survey was the uneven proportion of male to females, being at 75%. As the target market segment is from aged 16 – 18. It could be considered to be bias to have an uneven gender market segment, in addition having a low validity. This is also not representative of the market. To be able to target both male and females, having surveys on social media sites such as Facebook and Tweeter with incentives that appeal directly to males ages 16 – 18 as well as directly to females – to ensure that an equal amount of male and females are sampled, an equal number for the first however many females and males will be used.
Benefits of having an equal sample size is that that is decreases the possibilities of the finding being bias. The down side to this is that the incentive can be expensive as well as advertising on the sites. Unfortunately participants can lie – this is something that cannot be controlled. However, Teenagers within the target market that don’t go on social media sites would not be apart survey. This would be a limitation to the results as they would not be representing everyone within the target segment.
Nonetheless, the survey will be available to both genders; in comparison to the original survey, the reliability and validity will be increased. The data gathered could then be used produce the most innovated, suitable and wanted new soft drink for that market. Taking on boards these recommendations would increase the validity of the data and therefore could be more reliable to use when marketing the 16 -19 target market of Britvic’s new soft drink.