Chelle Precht

President/Owner, Complete Research Connection

It is a scary time for marketing research, in my opinion. As marketing researchers, we are offering information that shapes the world and our future. Data obtained from respondents during research is used by companies to formulate crucial business decisions, create new products, etc. Given the stakes involved in our data collection, we must examine the history in order to assess and learn from previous quality measures and standards set forth by industry leaders. It stands to reason that if we don’t apply the best guidelines to data collection, then we’re contributing to the demise of our own industry. Garbage in, garbage out, right?

Over the past 60+ years, literally hundreds of codes of conduct, guidelines, articles and posts about quality recruiting practices have been written. What they all have in common is the basic conviction that it is imperative for care to be taken by those who are responsible for obtaining respondents. Summarized by a line from the Marketing Research Association’s (now the Insights Association) MRA Code of Marketing Research Standards (October 2013): “Accurate data can be obtained only when all parties to the research process are committed to quality.”

There are right ways to recruit and there are wrong ways to recruit. How the respondent is identified and utilized is of utmost importance. Looking to the past and the essential standards set forth by industry leaders for identifying qualified respondents is what will, frankly, allow us to actually have a future for the marketing research industry.

Jay Zaltzman, president of the Qualitative Research Consultants Association (QRCA) says, “As qualitative researchers, we tend to focus on how to be most effective while we’re interacting with participants. But all of our work is based on the assumption that participants really are who ...