At the Corporate Researchers Conference in Dallas in October, the board of directors for the Marketing Research Association (MRA) approved what the organization has called a “landmark” revision to its Code of Marketing Research Standards.

The new code establishes 42 ethical and best-practice principles to guide marketing research practitioners in their day-to-day work. Per the association’s bylaws, members are obligated to adhere to the principles and, to maximize the global acceptance of marketing research, non-members are encouraged to do so as well.

“The new code addresses the responsibilities of marketing researchers to each other, the media, government officials, the public and anyone benefiting from marketing research,” said Jay White, CEO of Baltimore Research and chairman of MRA’s standards and ethics committee (SEC), in an MRA-issued statement.

The committee was charged with revising the prior version of the code, last published in 2007, and once an update was deemed necessary, it spent 17 months reviewing unaddressed areas, ambiguous standards, general clarity and structure before submitting its recommendation to MRA’s board for consideration.

“MRA’s objective was especially challenging – to create a set of principles that serve the entire profession, rather than segmented principles pertaining only to specialized modes or methodologies,” said White. “To answer that challenge, the new code contains broad principles as well as detailed rationale. Both are necessary for a well-formed code that is not overbearing and provides flexibility for practitioners operating with a firm ethical foundation,” he said.

(Other SEC members include Elyse Gammer, Cathy Scott and Merrill Shugoll. Additional review was completed by Grant Benson, Patrick Glaser, Paul Richard McCullough, Annie Pettit and Richard Spreng. The MRA’s 2013-2014 board of directors also contributed to the code, aided by MRA ...