What is a Nested Sample? [+ Examples and Uses]

sample of people

One powerful technique within market research is the use of nested sampling, a strategic approach that allows researchers to delve deeper into the intricacies of a population.

By employing a nested sample design, researchers can investigate specific subgroups within a larger population, enabling them to gain valuable insights into consumer behavior, preferences, and market segments.

In this blog post, we will explore the concept of nested sampling, its benefits, examples, and how it contributes to more accurate and targeted market research studies

What is a Nested Sample?

In market research, a nested sample refers to a specific sampling technique that involves multiple levels or layers of sampling within a population. This approach is commonly used when researchers are interested in studying subgroups or segments of a larger population.

Why Use a Nested Sample?

The purpose of using a nested sample design is to enable researchers to draw inferences and make conclusions about specific subgroups within the population.

It allows for a more detailed analysis of different segments, which can be valuable for market segmentation, customer profiling, or understanding variations in consumer behavior.

Therefore, by using a nested sample, researchers can gather data from a smaller, more manageable sample size while still ensuring that the subgroups within the population are represented accurately. This approach provides a balance between efficiency and precision in market research studies.

How to Design a Nested Sample

The nested sample design typically involves selecting a larger sample (the primary sample) from the target population and then further dividing this sample into smaller subsets or strata. Each subset represents a distinct subgroup within the population.

These subsets are often referred to as secondary samples or clusters.

The primary sample is randomly selected from the population, ensuring that it is representative of the entire population.

Then, within each selected cluster or secondary sample, a more focused sampling technique is applied to select individuals for data collection. This secondary sample can be selected using methods like simple random sampling, systematic sampling, or stratified sampling.

Example of a Nested Sample

For more context, here is an application of a nested sample using clusters.

Let's say Girardi's Grocery Store wants to determine how a redesign of its store layout will impact its most loyal customers. Girardi's has 12 different grocery store locations across the state.

Its first objective is to determine how to define a loyal customer so Girardi's conducts a loyalty survey collecting 4,000 completes from customers called at random.

From this sample of 4,000, Girardi's works with an online survey agency to define and cluster a sample of loyal customers.

Examples of customer clusters include:

  • Customers who shopped at Girardi's at least once a week over the past 6 months
  • Customers who spend at least $100 in total groceries each time
  • Customers who reference Girardi's as their primary grocery store visited, etc.

It is determined approximately 650 customers out of the 4,000 surveyed fall into this loyal customer cluster.

Girardi's then works with its market research company to scope out a series of four focus group sessions with these loyal customers to better understand the perceptions and impact of the new store design.

The sample of 650 is called at random to recruit for the qualitative sessions which offers an incentive of $150 for participating.

The nested sample used for the focus group recruitment was a sub-segment of the sample used for the quantitative loyalty survey in Step 1.

Final Thoughts

The utilization of nested sampling in market research provides a powerful tool for studying subgroups within a population. This approach allows researchers to gain deeper insights into consumer behavior, preferences, and market segments, leading to more accurate and targeted strategies.

By carefully selecting primary and secondary samples, market researchers can efficiently collect data while ensuring representativeness.

Plus, the ability to explore specific subgroups empowers businesses to make informed decisions, tailor their marketing efforts, and meet the diverse needs of their target audience.

Contact Our Market Research Company

Drive Research is a national market research company located in Syracuse, NY. Our team offers a full range of market research services but specializes in online surveys and focus groups.

Interested in learning more about our services? Contact us today.

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Author Bio George Kuhn

George Kuhn

George is the Owner & President of Drive Research. He has consulted for hundreds of regional, national, and global organizations over the past 15 years. He is a CX-certified VoC professional with a focus on innovation and new product management.

Learn more about George, here.

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