Recruiting people to join your online citizens panel can be time consuming. Restricting your panel to a randomly selected sample can increase the time and cost of panel recruitment considerably. We have learnt a valuable lesson about how allowing a self selected sample of survey participants can actually benefit your organisations citizens panel profile and provide even more in-depth comments on certain topics that a random sample can not provide.
We’ve come up with three key reasons for why you should allow a self-selected sample to join your Citizens Panel.
Benefits of Using a Self Selected Sample In Your Citizens Panel
1) Inclusive – Self Selected Sample is inclusive of everyone in the community
One of the major advantages that PublicVoice has found since we launched our Citizens Panel product is that giving people the ability to be able to join our panel via their own free will or take part in surveys that are of direct interest to them leads to increased engagement between the participant and the organisation getting the results.
Allowing for a self selected sample in your panel is a good insurance policy for being able to cover all the many different parts of the community that your organisation is wanting to find out information from. A random sample gives you a good spread of the many different age groups in your community as well as the areas they are from but can limit the quantity and spread of the responses from people who take part.
Self selected samples allow people to take part and provide the random sample with a boost. This is especially important with those harder to reach segments (e.g.under 25 years old) as trying to recruit them to be apart of a random sample of people is much harder. Give them the right issue and they will happily take part in your surveys.
2) Compare and Contrast – Using a self selected sample allows for your organisation to compare and contrast against the random sample which provides more understanding
The biggest advantage of allowing for a self selected sample in your panel is the ability to be able to compare and contrast the results against that of a random sample of people.
In a recent survey we conducted on behalf of the Hastings District Council about speed limits in Hastings the results were amazing. Out of those who where under 24 years old and took part in our survey, 87% of those young people where from the self selected sample.
The use of the self selected sample was also able to provide Hastings District Council with more detailed information from those directly affected in the community by the proposed speed limit changes and gave the council the opportunity to look into why only 12% of our self selected sample agreed with the speed limit changes compared to 51% of our random sample.
3) Increases Response Rate – A self selected sample increases overall numbers of people engaging with organisations which is only a good thing
Allowing for more people to take part in surveys is only a good thing and gives people in the community a voice on the issues that they care about. Overall we notice in surveys where our numbers of participants are higher that a lot of the increase is as a result of allowing a self selected sample to do our surveys.
Allowing your whole community the opportunity to take part in surveys via websites such as My Voice My Choice which encourage people to take part in their communities by giving their views to council also leads to increased numbers of participants which provides better information to organisations
PublicVoice has a number of protections in place to ensure that surveys are not hijacked or done multiple times by the same people to ensure that the self selected sample does not bring down the overall survey. And when we report the results of the surveys, findings are defined by Self Selected Sample Vs Random Sample Vs Combined. This makes it easy to quickly identify any potential bias from your self selected sample.
Overall, the use of a self selected sample in your panel encourages more people to take part and provides more detailed information about how your community feels about certain issues. We love people taking part and increasing community engagement is overall a good thing which can only bring one thing. Results!