According to a recent GRIT Sample Report* presented at SampleCon in January, 81% of industry buyers and sellers believe traditional panels are dying. At the same time, over half believe traditional panels are the gold standard. Traditional research panels do bring advantages that yield data quality; perhaps most important, they are not associated with loyalty programs. Rather, panelists are sequestered solely for the purpose of taking surveys which minimizes bias. Other important benefits include validation of people’s identities upon registration as well as extensive profiling that can be used not only for targeting, but also to shorten surveys by appending data. Double opt-in panels also facilitate the integration of behavioral and attitudinal data sets.
As online research has transitioned over the past 15 years from random digit dialing or door-to-door methods to online, a shift from probability to non-probability sampling has occurred. To assuage the concerns of researchers, rigorous sampling methods were developed to ensure representative samples. Despite this, however, there has been a rapid change in sampling practices as respondent efficiency became the focus of fieldwork companies and respondent routing replaced traditional sampling for much of the market research industry.