Here’s a suggestion for the Australian Market and Social Research Society, the industry association that looks after market research professionals.
As a way of improving consumer confidence in market research what about an accreditation system for publicly released research?
The media use surveys as a way of generating headlines. Sometimes this is done quickly and with poor methodology which is an unfortunate irony, – it has the most exposure and is the most likely to be quick and sloppy. It is very much in the interests of the market research industry to establish some accreditation in this area. Convincing the media will be something else.
I’m suggesting a compact visual accreditation system that can be used on TV or at the tail of a newspaper article. The media’s help would be needed to explain the meaning of the symbols to the population.
Accreditation would only be available if research was conducted by a member of the association and supervised by a qualified practitioner. I’m suggesting three different accreditation symbols. The more symbols you’ve got, the more credible the research.
i – denoting that the questionnaire (at least) is available for public view on the internet. The link would need to be given at the end of the article/story or published on a separate market research page on their web site.
Sigma – denoting that the sample size conforms to guidelines set by the AMSRS.
Tick – denoting that an independent member of the AMSRS has affirmed the survey design as suitable.
Any symbol reproduced would be preceded by a lower case “mr.” It’s not a bullet-proof system but it’s a start. I’m sure the AMSRS can do better since hey, I’m not a market research professional.
Over time an accreditation system supported by the media would increase people’s understanding that there is good market research and poor market research. That dichotomy is not currently out there.