What Is a Qualitative Sampling of an Online Survey?

At a Glance

When contributors answer survey questions out loud, they provide a fuller—more qualitative—sense of the thinking behind their answers. Here we discuss what qualitative sampling of a survey means and cover circumstances for when using this survey approach works best.


What is a qualitative sampling of an online survey?

A survey is a series of questions answered by the target audience. Responses are open ended or multiple choice, and are typically about behavior, preferences, attitudes, and experiences on a topic or area of interest. To make a claim about a user group, the sample size must be large enough to capture statistically significant results.

The data you get back from a survey is typically just the answers, not the contributors’ thought process while answering the questions. A qualitative sampling of a survey is when you have a portion of your total respondents record themselves thinking out loud as they complete an online survey. Through these recordings, you can gather qualitative feedback to understand the thought process behind their answers.

Why is a qualitative sampling of an online survey helpful?

Surveys are great quantitative tools and can be used to measure user engagement, perception, preference, and market needs. Recording a portion of an online survey sample via the UserTesting platform provides richer data around people’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors as they answer questions.

When should qualitative sampling of an online survey be conducted?

A qualitative sample of an online survey can be conducted at any time during the lifecycle of a product. However, it is typically done...

  • Before development, as a way to gather requirements.
  • During design, to gather contributor thoughts and feedback.
  • After the site or product has been launched, to gather feedback on how people use it, when they use it, and why.
We ask contributors to record themselves using the UserTesting platform while they complete an online survey. The survey can be set up via the Qualtrics integration.

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