Quotas: complete guide

Compatibility:IdSurvey 7IdSurvey 8

IdSurvey allows you to set quotas to check for accurate sample distribution.
Quotas allow you to track how many respondents meet one of the survey conditions.
The purpose of quotas in a survey is to ensure that the exact amount of interviews are collected for each respondent profile so that the data is true to a representative sample.

To give a simple example, if you intend to collect 500 interviews, you might want to set a quota for 250 males and a quota for 250 females.
After a quota has been met – for example, if 250 interviews of male respondents were collected – only female respondents will be allowed to complete interviews until the relevant quota is reached.

 

Notes:

  • If an interview goes out of quota in telephone and CAPI interviews, a page is shown where the interviewer can decide whether to stop the interview or still proceed to the next pages of the questionnaire.
With IdSurvey you can manage stratified quotas and independent quotas.
Stratified quotas can be described as quotas crossed with sub-quotas, for example stratifying quotas based on gender with quotas based on age.
Independent quotas are quotas that are not related to other quotas.

However, in IdSurvey all types of quotas are represented in the same way. For stratified quotas, you need to set a quota for each combination of the intersection, either manually or in an Excel file.

Let’s use an example. We want to check the number of interviews collected by gender and cross (or stratify) by age groups. We also want to set independent quotas for the north, central, and south area.
For the stratified quotas based on gender and age group, it is necessary to set a single quota for each crossing by defining the criterion and the number of required interviews. In this example, we will therefore set a total of 10 quotas. For example, gender equal to M and range equal to Under 18, Gender equal to M and range equal to 18-29, and so on…

 

Stratified quotas

 

Let’s add the independent quotas for the three areas: North, Center, South.

 

Each completed interview will increase the counter of all quotas corresponding to the respondent’s characteristics. This means that a 25-year-old female respondent residing in the North zone will increase both the Females 18-29 and the North quota counters.

When any quota has reached the required number, all contacts matching that quota will be considered “out of quota,” even if other characteristics are compatible with other open quotas. This means that if the Center quota has been met, any additional Center respondent will be considered out of quota, even if the relevant gender and age group quota are still open.

Create a quota manually

Step 1
To create a quota click on the Tools menu and choose “Quotas Management”, then click on the + icon.
Step 2
Add a description, such as “Males” and enter the number of interviews desired for this quota, such as 250.
Step 3
Add the criteria by clicking the + icon of Set filters, choose the contact field(s), the type of comparison, and specify the value, e.g. Gender equals m.
Step 4
Click on save to confirm.

Add a quota

 

Import quotas from Excel files
Quotas can be imported from an Excel file.

Step 1
To add quotas via import, you need to create an Excel file containing the columns named as follows (following this exact order):

Description: insert the name of the quota with no spaces.
Field name(s) used to create the quota: enter the name of the field or fields (if it is a stratified quota) to enter the values.
Required: insert the number of completed interviews requested for the quota to be complete.

Note:

  • Optionally, you can add a “Color” column where you can specify the code in HEX format. The color is only used for visual representation on the shared quota page. The color column must be added between the description and field name columns.
  • If there are quotas that refer to different contact fields, it is necessary to split the quotas into multiple excel sheets. In this example, we have one sheet with the gender and group quotas and a second sheet with the marginal quotas by zone.

Add quotas - excel

Step 2
Fill in the file with all the necessary quota information

Step 3
In IdSurvey, click on the gear button at the top left and then on “Import from file”

Step 4
Drag the file into the window or load it manually by clicking “Upload”.

Step 5
Press “Insert”, select the desired Excel sheet, and then click “Insert Data”.

Step 6
Repeat the procedure for all sheets in the Excel file you intend to import.

Quotas can refer to any field in the contact.
Contact field can be pre-loaded or collected during the interview process.

IdSurvey quotas cannot refer directly to questionnaire answers. However it is possible to populate contact fields during the interview.

For example, when asked “Select your gender” you will need to update the Gender field to either M, F or other values depending on the answer given so that the relevant quota can be processed.

 

Update a contact field with the user interface

Click on the gear button of the answer choice on which the quota will be based and enable the “Update Contact Field” function.
Select the contact field where the value will be written from the drop-down menu and type the value to be assigned in the text box below.

Update contact field

 

Update a contact field with IdCode

From IdCode, add /UF “Field = Value”in the desired answer option line, specifying the name of the field to be overwritten and the value to save.

Update contact fields from IdCode

 

Update a contact field with FlowScript

Using FlowScript, you can update a contact field by specifying any condition. For example, you can update a field if the respondent selected the first answer to question Q1 and indicated a grade greater than 6 in the open-ended question Q2.

Update contact field from FlowScript

For more details on using FlowScript, please refer to the specific article.

Notes:

  • You can set as a value other contact fields, open-end answers, algebraic expressions or simple strings as you can see in the examples of this article.
  • When you want to populate a field with a string, it has to be written between single quote mark, for example: Group = '18-29'.
    If you don’t use the single quote mark, the system will perform the subtraction 18 minus 29 and it will populate the field Group with the result -11. However, if the value consists of a single word with no spaces or a single number, the quote mark can be considered optional.
 

From “Advanced settings”, which you can find on the “general settings” page of the survey, you can choose between two different types of quota control, normal or strong.

“Normal” check: the quota check is carried out only at the beginning of the interview and in all the pages where you update a field used in quotas.
“Strong” check: the check is carried out after each page of the interview.

 

Check quotas mode

Note:

  • Regardless of the type of control selected, the contacts that already have information that determines the status of “Quota full” are discarded by the system and not proposed to interviewers. They are also ignored by email and SMS invitation campaigns.

Whenever you change the quota criteria or the number of requested when a survey is already underway, you must run the “Recalculate All Cells” command to update the status of the contacts to the new settings.

Refresh quota cells

When changes are made that make it necessary to recalculate cells, a reminder is shown at the top of the “Quota Management” page.

Refresh quota cells

IdSurvey allows you to share the quota page with external users to track the progress of the survey.
No credentials are required to access the page. Anyone with the link can view the page. The shared page allows the real-time consultation of the progress for each quota and does not allow any kind of modification.

To share the quotas page, click on the gear button then select “Share” and copy the link from the dialog box, then share it via email or your preferred tool.

Share quotas

During the interview, contacts that are found to belong to a quota that has already been met will not be able to complete the interview and will be directed to a specific customizable exit page. These contacts are labeled with the outcome “Out of Quota”.

Contacts that belong to a full quota even before starting the interview (when the contact fields loaded match the criteria of a full quota), are ignored by the system and labeled as “Quota Full”. These contacts will not be proposed to telephone interviewers, CAPI interviewers, and ignored by email and SMS campaigns.

In rare cases, interviews belonging to quotas that have already been met may be collected. For example, it may happen when a quota needs only one interview to meet the goal and 2 interviews matching the quota requirements are completed simultaneously. In this case, one of the 2 interviews is considered “Over quota”. It is possible to exclude all over quota interviews from the data export.

Note:

  • Many other instances can result in over quota interviews. For example, if the number of requested interviews in a quota is reduced after the data collection or if interviews conducted with CAPI offline are synchronized after a quota is met, etc…