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quota sample A cheaper alternative to random sampling commonly used in opinion polls, due to their narrow focus on political and other attitudes, and their high frequency—giving, in effect, constant replication. Instead of interviewers being issued with a fixed list of randomly selected addresses, they are instructed to achieve interviews with fixed numbers of people having specified characteristics, chosen to be representative of the population of interest. Most commonly interview quotas are set with only three variables: age, sex, and socio-economic status (social class). This works adequately for opinion polls, but there is little reason to expect that all other important characteristics are representative of the population when just two or three characteristics are representative, as this still leaves the interviewer considerable freedom of choice in his or her selection of respondents.
sample, quota See QUOTA SAMPLE.