Convenient yet not a convenience sample: Jury pools as experimental subject pools

Gregg R. Murray, Cynthia R. Rugeley, Dona Gene Mitchell, Jeffery J. Mondak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Scholars greatly benefit from access to convenient, inexpensive data sources. Many researchers rely on student subject pools, a practice that raises concern about the " college sophomore problem," or the possibility that findings from student subjects do not generalize beyond the campus. As an accessible, low cost, and heterogeneous data source, some researchers have used subjects recruited from jury pools, which are drawn from randomly-selected citizens required by law to appear for jury duty. In this paper, we discuss the strengths and weaknesses of this approach. First, we review pragmatic considerations involving access to jury pools, substantive content, the administration of survey-experiments, and the financial costs and benefits of this approach. Next, we present evidence regarding the quality of jury pool samples in terms of response rates, diversity, and representativeness. We conclude that jury pools, given proper attention to their limitations, offer an attractive addition to the viable sources of experimental data.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)246-253
Number of pages8
JournalSocial Science Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2013


  • Convenience samples
  • Jury pools
  • Laboratory experiments


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