What is quota Sampling

Guide: Quota Sampling

Quota sampling is a non-probability technique where researchers select a sample reflecting the population's attributes, based on predetermined quotas for characteristics like age, gender, race, or income.
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Author: Daniel Croft

Daniel Croft is an experienced continuous improvement manager with a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt and a Bachelor's degree in Business Management. With more than ten years of experience applying his skills across various industries, Daniel specializes in optimizing processes and improving efficiency. His approach combines practical experience with a deep understanding of business fundamentals to drive meaningful change.

Guide: Quota Sampling

Quota sampling is a non-random technique for gathering data from a population by dividing it into groups and collecting data from each group to meet pre-set quotas. This approach ensures diverse representation in the sample by mirroring key population characteristics. It is cost-effective, quick, and flexible, making it ideal for studies with limited resources or strict timelines. However, it can introduce bias and limit generalizability due to its non-random selection process. Implementing quota sampling involves defining the population, determining quotas, selecting subjects, and collecting data. It’s particularly useful for targeted market research and demographic studies.

What is Quota Sampling

Quota sampling is a unique approach within research methodologies, particularly valuable for studies aiming to capture insights from a population in a manner that reflects its diverse characteristics. This technique segments the population into specific subgroups based on predefined criteria such as age, gender, income level, or any other demographic or psychographic factor deemed relevant to the research objectives. Researchers then collect data from these subgroups until they reach a predetermined quota for each, ensuring that the sample mirrors the broader population’s composition in terms of the selected criteria.

How to Conduct Quota Sampling

Implementing quota sampling is a structured process that involves careful planning and execution to ensure that the collected data accurately reflects the population’s characteristics. This process is designed to gather comprehensive insights while ensuring representation across different segments of the population. Here’s a detailed look at each step involved in implementing quota sampling:

Step 1: Define the Population

What is a Sample of Population

The first step in quota sampling is to precisely define the target population for the study. This definition is important as it sets the boundaries and characteristics that are relevant to the research. Defining the population involves specifying who will be considered for the study based on criteria such as age, location, gender, occupation, or any other factor that is relevant to the research objectives. This stage lays the foundation for the entire sampling process by identifying who is included in the study and ensuring that the sample will be representative of this group.

Step 2: Determine the Quotas

After defining the population, the next step is to establish the quotas for each subgroup within the population. These quotas are proportional representations that mirror the population’s composition concerning the identified characteristics. For instance, if the population of interest includes an equal distribution of males and females, the quotas should reflect this balance. Determining the quotas requires a thorough understanding of the population’s demographics or characteristics, which may be obtained from existing data or preliminary research. The aim is to set quotas that ensure the sample accurately represents the population’s diversity.

To help with this understanding let’s consider the following example:

A manufacturing business that produces both electronic and non-electronic home appliances. The company wants to assess employee satisfaction across different departments to identify areas for improvement. The workforce is distributed across four key departments as follows:

  • Production: 50% of the workforce
  • Quality Control: 20% of the workforce
  • Sales and Marketing: 20% of the workforce
  • Research and Development: 10% of the workforce

The company decides to conduct a survey involving 200 employees to gauge satisfaction levels.

Based on the workforce distribution, the quota sampling for the survey would be as follows:

  • Production: 100 employees (50% of 200)
  • Quality Control: 40 employees (20% of 200)
  • Sales and Marketing: 40 employees (20% of 200)
  • Research and Development: 20 employees (10% of 200)

By setting these quotas, the company ensures that the sample reflects the distribution of its workforce across departments, thereby allowing for a more accurate and representative assessment of employee satisfaction.

Step 3: Select Subjects

With the quotas defined, researchers proceed to select subjects from each subgroup to meet the established quotas. This selection process is not random; instead, researchers may use convenience or judgment sampling to choose participants. Convenience sampling involves selecting individuals who are most accessible or willing to participate, while judgment sampling relies on the researcher’s discretion to choose participants who they believe are representative of the subgroup. The key here is to fill the quotas with subjects that match the predetermined characteristics, ensuring that each segment of the population is adequately represented in the sample.

Step 4: Collect Data

The final step in quota sampling is the data collection phase. Once the quotas have been filled with appropriately selected subjects, researchers can begin collecting data. The methods for data collection can vary widely depending on the study’s goals, ranging from surveys and questionnaires to interviews or observational studies. This stage is critical as the quality of the data collected will directly impact the study’s findings and conclusions. Researchers must ensure that the data collection methods are consistent and that the questions or observations are designed to elicit clear, comprehensive responses from participants.

Advantages of Quota Sampling

The allure of quota sampling lies in its several key advantages, making it a favored choice among researchers for various applications:

  • Cost-Effectiveness: When compared to probability sampling methods, quota sampling is more economical. It reduces both the time and resources necessary for conducting the study, as it does not require a complete list of the population from which to randomly select participants.
  • Simplicity and Speed: The implementation of quota sampling is inherently simple and direct, facilitating rapid data collection. This characteristic is particularly beneficial for projects constrained by tight deadlines or requiring quick turnaround times.
  • Flexibility: Quota sampling offers researchers the flexibility to adjust their quotas in response to any changes in the study’s focus or shifts in population dynamics, allowing for the accommodation of last-minute adjustments without compromising the study’s integrity.
  • Improved Representation: One of the primary goals of quota sampling is to ensure that all segments of the population, especially minority groups, are adequately represented in the sample. This methodological approach is designed to prevent the oversight of any significant subgroup, thereby providing a more comprehensive understanding of the population.

Disadvantages of Quota Sampling

However, quota sampling is not without its challenges and limitations, which include:

  • Bias: The non-random selection of subjects within each quota can introduce bias into the sample. Since researchers often rely on convenience or judgment to select participants, the sample may not accurately represent the broader population, potentially skewing the results.
  • Lack of Generalizability: The inherent bias associated with non-random selection methods means that the findings from quota sampling studies may not be generalizable to the entire population. This limitation can restrict the applicability of the research findings beyond the sampled individuals.
  • Difficulty in Identifying Appropriate Quotas: Establishing the correct quotas that accurately reflect the population’s composition can be a complex and challenging task. It requires a deep understanding of the population’s characteristics and may necessitate preliminary research to determine the appropriate quotas.


Quota sampling is a valuable tool for researchers aiming to collect data that reflects specific characteristics of a population. While it offers the advantage of being cost-effective and simple to implement, it also poses challenges related to bias and generalizability. By carefully defining the population, determining appropriate quotas, and selecting subjects judiciously, researchers can mitigate some of these challenges and make effective use of quota sampling in their studies.


A: Quota sampling is a non-probability sampling technique where the researcher divides the population into distinct groups or subgroups and then selects subjects from each subgroup to meet predefined quotas. This method ensures that the sample reflects certain characteristics of the population, such as age, gender, income level, etc.

A: The main difference between quota sampling and random sampling lies in the selection process. In quota sampling, participants are chosen based on specific characteristics to fulfill a quota, which is not random. In contrast, random sampling involves selecting participants randomly, giving each member of the population an equal chance of being included in the sample, regardless of their characteristics.

A: The main advantages of quota sampling include cost-effectiveness, as it requires less time and resources than probability sampling methods; simplicity and speed, making it straightforward to implement and ideal for studies with tight deadlines; flexibility, as researchers can adjust quotas to reflect changes in the study’s focus or in the population; and improved representation, ensuring that minority groups within the population are adequately represented in the sample.

A: While quota sampling aims to ensure that the sample reflects specific characteristics of the population, the non-random selection process may introduce bias, limiting the ability to generalize the results to the entire population. The representativeness of the sample depends on how well the quotas are defined and how accurately they reflect the population’s characteristics.

A: Determining the appropriate quotas involves a thorough understanding of the population’s characteristics, which can be obtained from existing data or preliminary research. Quotas are set based on the distribution of key characteristics within the population, such as demographics or other relevant criteria. The goal is to ensure that the sample mirrors the composition of the population in terms of these characteristics, allowing for meaningful analysis and insights.


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Daniel Croft

Daniel Croft is a seasoned continuous improvement manager with a Black Belt in Lean Six Sigma. With over 10 years of real-world application experience across diverse sectors, Daniel has a passion for optimizing processes and fostering a culture of efficiency. He's not just a practitioner but also an avid learner, constantly seeking to expand his knowledge. Outside of his professional life, Daniel has a keen Investing, statistics and knowledge-sharing, which led him to create the website www.learnleansigma.com, a platform dedicated to Lean Six Sigma and process improvement insights.

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