Quota sampling is a non-probability sampling technique wherein the assembled sample has the same proportions of individuals as the entire population with respect to known characteristics, traits or focused phenomenon.
Then, the researcher must identify the proportions of these subgroups in the population; this same proportion will be applied in the sampling process.
Finally, the researcher selects subjects from the various subgroups while taking into consideration the proportions noted in the previous step.
The final step ensures that the sample is representative of the entire population. It also allows the researcher to study traits and characteristics that are noted for each subgroup.
Example of Quota Samples
In a study wherein the researcher likes to compare the academic performance of the different high school class levels, its relationship with gender and socioeconomic status, the researcher first identifies the subgroups.
Usually, the subgroups are the characteristics or variables of the study. The researcher divides the entire population into class levels, intersected with gender and socioeconomic status. Then, he takes note of the proportions of these subgroups in the entire population and then samples each subgroup accordingly.
When to Use Quota Samples
The main reason why researchers choose quota samples is that it allows the researchers to sample a subgroup that is of great interest to the study. If a study aims to investigate a trait or a characteristic of a certain subgroup, this type of sampling is the ideal technique.
Quota sampling also allows the researchers to observe relationships between subgroups. In some studies, traits of a certain subgroup interact with other traits of another subgroup. In such cases, it is also necessary for the researcher to use this type of sampling technique.
Disadvantages of Quota Samples
It may appear that this type of sampling technique is totally representative of the population. In some cases it is not. Keep in mind that only the selected traits of the population were taken into account in forming the subgroups.
In the process of sampling these subgroups, other traits in the sample may be overrepresented. In a study that considers gender, socioeconomic status and religion as the basis of the subgroups, the final sample may have skewed representation of age, race, educational attainment, marital status and a lot more.