A more informal research opportunity was presented to me recently be a Carlson student here at the University of Minnesota. This particular survey was about coffee consumption, more specifically consumption of coffee from outside sources (i.e. Starbucks, Caribou, Dunn Bros. etc.). It was presented to me when it was sent out over my sorority list serve. This where my major critique lies.
Although this is great convenience sample and an excellent way to reach a large number of people, the sampling is going to be very biased. All the girls in the sorority are of a very similar, very specific demographic. This being: Female college students, ages 18-22, the majority being Caucasian, and in a sorority.
The questions were also no effectively worded, and many were often leading. For example, one asked something along the lines of what it your favorite coffee place? And, provided the standard Starbucks, Caribou and Dunn Bros, but failed to recognize that some people may prefer home-brewed or a local café.