Caution—Convenience Sample Ahead!

Date Published: 

Wednesday, December 31, 2008


  • Thomas Treiman
  • Michele Baumer

Paper Summary/Abstract: 

In 2008, MDC developed a printed survey asking horse riders how often they rode on public land, where they rode, how much they spent, and additional questions about their attitudes regarding equestrian trails. The survey was printed in two versions. One was sent to a randomly selected sample of riders, the other was a convenience sample distributed to saddle clubs, trail rides, and other interested parties. The Random Sample was to provide unbiased statewide information, while the Convenience Sample was to meet the desire of the riding public to provide input.
A convenience sample is much more likely to be completed by avid users, who have more opportunities to see it, and by users with stronger opinions about the issue addressed, who are more motivated. A random sample should statistically represent the whole population from which the sample is drawn, in this case all Missouri landowners with horses. With a convenience sample, it may never be known how many people received it, only how many were sent in. By contrast, with a well-constructed random sample, which includes a database of names and addresses and numbered surveys, the response rate is known.

File Download: 

PDF icon 2008_Conv sample_vol3_21.pdf

No subscription needed


Human Dimensions


Public use