The Association for Qualitative Research
The Hub of Qualitative Thinking

Action call on standards

The revision of market research codes and standards can have unforeseen consequences. AQR is on the case

There is news on the research regulations fron Firstly, the new standard BS ISO 20252, where an addition had been made with a directive that calls for all qualitative respondents to be validated before or at a group.

Since AQR’s Treasurer and Honorary Secretary, Liz Sykes, also happens to be in charge of MRQSA Liaison, she was asked by MRQSA to address this addition. Liz pointed out that it was fine for other European countries with ID cards, but 100% validation on respondents’ identity here would be ludicrous.

After numerous discussions — with Debrah Harding (MRS Deputy Director General), the MRQSA Committee, the IQCS Committee and companies which have already been inspected for the new standard, to name but a few — it was decided that the following response should be recommended:

“It is not feasible for researchers in the UK to check and confirm the identity of the respondents taking part in qualitative research as we do not have a national identity scheme. People are not required by law to carry anything with them to confirm their identity. Companies which have already been inspected for the new standard are using the following wording on their signatory sheets: ‘I confirm that I am the person named below, and I have received the sum of £x’. They should then print and sign their name.”

One hundred percent validation could have been interpreted as 100% pre-checking or back-checking of respondents. This is not the case. It just covers respondents confirming their identity. The use of th signatory sheet means that everyone will be asked, thus covering this area, too.

The second item relates to the proposed revisions to the Esomar Code, which defines market research as about “…individuals or organisations using scientific, statistical and analytical methods and techniques to gain insight or support decision making.”

Apparently the The German Market Research Society (ADM) feels that the proposed definition of market research is too lax as it fails to emphasise the scientific character of market and social research.

The MRS, meanwhile, has submitted the following definition, that “Market research, which includes social and opinion research, is the gathering and interpretation of information about individuals or organisations using scientific, statistical or analytical methods and/or techniques to gain insight or support decision making.”

AQR would prefer the current MRS definition of research, i.e. “…includes all forms of market, opinion and social research such as consumer and industrial surveys, psychological investigations, qualitative interviews and group discussions, observational, ethnographic, and panel studies.”

Information on the revised Esomar Code can be found at:

http://www.esomar.org/index.php/amendments-to-the-icc-esomar-code.html

 

Liz Sykes
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