Aimri Guidelines to Standards in Market Research

AIMRI has re-adopted the ICC/ESOMAR International Code. To reach the Professional Standards section of the ESOMAR web site you should follow the following link - guidelines where the Code as well as the Guidelines can be found. AIMRI is committed to establishing and monitoring standards of quality of research conducted by member companies. All AIMRI companies observe the codes of conduct of the ICC and ESOMAR and of relevant national research associations.

  1. AIMRI member companies should only claim experience and expertise in research design, industry sector data collection techniques, data preparation and processing, reporting and interpretation where this can be supported by previous activity.
  2. All personal within an AIMRI member company must have adequate training and experience to undertake the tasks assigned them.
  3. Sub-contracting of any element of proposed or commissioned studies must be disclosed to the client in advance, with the sub-contractor also being bound by similar standards.
    1. All good research begins with a high quality of project design. The proposed survey method must therefore be appropriate to:
the overall objectives of the study,

the nature of the information being collected,

the type of informant to be interviewed,

    1. AIMRI companies should ensure that they have obtained all relevant information from the commissioning client prior to finalising their proposals. Similarly, client organisations should provide such details as they deem appropriate to the agency in order that these may be incorporated within the proposal document.
    2. AIMRI considers that failure to adhere to these basic information exchanges can result in confusion, delay and unnecessary expense: it may also prejudice the successful outcome of the study by alienating the client from the agency.
    3. Research proposals from an AIMRI member company should clearly identify:
Research objectives,

Information to be collected,

Method to be used (and reason for that, if relevant),

Source of sample,

Fieldwork control (including relevant quality checks),

Respondent types and quotas

Analysis and data processing details

Project timings

Fee (and details of any applicable taxes).

  • These are the basic requirements and the level of detail required will be dependent on the exact nature and complexity of the study under consideration. This is naturally a matter for discussion between the client and the research company during appropriate briefing meetings.
  • Alternatively, the client should indicate the level of detail required in the proposal document within the text of the written briefing document. In either case, the research agency should know what is required of it and the client should understand what to expect from the agency.
  1. AIMRI members should ensure that achieved samples are appropriate to the research objectives and that recruitment of respondents fit the stated criteria.
  2. Details of sample sources used and an analysis of response rates must be available to clients if required, and variations from proposed sample profiles and sources should only be permitted after reference to the client.
  3. Accurate and relevant sampling is particularly important in business-to-business research. This reflect the limited number of companies available for interview in particular sectors and the dangers of over-sampling. The proposed research method should take account of these matters in order to avoid future problems in over-sampled sectors.
  1. Prior to any interview, respondents should be informed of its nature and likely duration in order to secure their full co-operation and avoid any possible misunderstandings.
  2. All information given to respondents to gain co-operation should be truthful. Any assurances given to respondents must be adhered to, whether given orally or in writing.
  3. Whether conducted by telephone or face-to-face, all information provided by respondents during any interview must be treated in the strictest confidence.
  4. Data on individual respondents (or their employers in the case of business-to-business research) should not be disclosed, either directly or by inference, without the prior consent of the respondent.
  5. All interviewers working on a project should be fully conversant with the questionnaire/topic guide to ensure consistent interpretation of definitions and phrases used.
  1. All fieldwork should be carried out by interviewers trained to standards relevant to the type of study and data collection techniques used. The term "interviewers" in this context includes research executives, consultants and others conducting research interviews.
  2. National rules governing market research interviewing should be observed by all interviewers and only persons specifically trained in research interviewing techniques should be employed.
  3. Appropriate control and supervision should be provided and all work should be checked for accuracy and completeness. Evidence of this must be provided if requested.
  4. Interviewer briefing should be undertaken for all research studies, using the methods stated and agreed with the client (e.g. personal, telephone, written).
  5. Having designed the questionnaire to meet the objectives of the study, it is imperative that all fieldwork is undertaken to the highest possible standard. It is important for AIMRI member companies to ensure that:
Quota samples are adhered to as specified in proposals,

Responses to open questions are full and detailed,

Interview quality control checks are conducted either through direct supervision or back-checking of results. Clients should be informed of the nature of quality control procedures.

  1. Editing of completed questionnaires should be carried out either by computerised or manual methods to ensure that records are analysed to provide the information required. Post-coding and analysis of verbatim quotes should be carried out under the supervision of qualified staff.
  2. DP specifications should be designed to meet the research objectives and to provide information relevant to the study. Computer tabulations should be designed for maximum clarity.
  3. Measurement of market size or projected sales volumes should be supported by evidence of the methods by which figures have been derived. All values used in any sales estimate calculations and the exact method of such estimation should be available to the client.
  1. Upon completion of data processing (or qualitative interpretation) an AIMRI member company should provide the client with results and recommendations in a mutually agreed format (I.e. either on paper or disk/tape). Copies of data tables, accompanies by the questionnaire, should also be supplied, as relevant.
  2. AIMRI members should take great care to differentiate between research finding and their interpretation of those results - it should be clear from the report which are findings and which is opinion.
  1. In the unlikely event of any disagreement between an AIMRI member company and a client not being amicably resolved, AIMRI's Chairman will, upon request, appoint an Arbitrator to settle the matter.
  2. In the event of a member company not adhering to AIMRI's standards, its membership of the Association may be terminated at the discretion of the AIMRI Council.

Ultimately, it is the responsibility of both client and agency to work in tandem to ensure the project is carried out to the highest possible standard. A good, mutually-trusting relationship is essential if the client organisation is to benefit fully from the standards of service provided by AIMRI members


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