Written by Jason Swanson
Jason Swanson shares his thoughts on “Samples and Sample Screeners” in this blog post for our Emerging Fellows program. The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of the APF or its other members.
Samples and sample screeners. These two things have been top of mind for me as of late. As we progress in slowly building a survey instrument for our “state of the futures field” survey the challenge and importance of a correct sample has really come front and center. Obviously we want any survey to be an accurate sample, however a survey attempting to figure out what the world thinks of the futures field, specifically those that might hire us, certainly has its challenges when constructing a sample frame. One such challenge that we came across was cost. For quantitative research projects it is not uncommon to go to a sample house to purchases respondents that fit your sample frame. Due to the nature of this survey, the cost we were quoted was a bit more than what we had initially estimated. This is where sample screeners entered into the picture. A sample screener is just what it sounds; questions to help weed out respondents who we may not need and to zero in on the proper folks who would make an accurate sample, in the process hopefully lowering the price point for the sample frame. This is very challenging in that we are really seeking to become more granular in our sample yet stay as representative as we can. As we consider what screeners we might use, I am curious to know a few things from the members of our community and those that may read this blog. In my last post I pondered about whether or not we could figure out a client archetype. Along the same lines of thinking, I want to know who it is you might work with inside a company or organization whenever someone reaches out for foresight services. Is it someone at a “director level” of an organization? Does the company or the department typically look at the future? Do they have any experience at all with hiring futurists? Who is that person that makes the call to hire you? Answers to any of these questions will help us build better screeners which in turn will help to build a better sample. It is exciting to watch this come together. From a personal level, I am very interested in how we can expand our market to clients that have never used a futurist. I am also excited to see if in the data a client archetype might appear, and what that might mean for our field in the future…..