The Code of Conduct is largely built around the principles of the Data Protection Act. This is a voluntary code that guides the practices of the market research industry; it also incorporates the principles of the ESOMAR Code of Marketing and Social Research Practice.
The underlying principles are as follows:
- Research is founded on the willing co-operation of the public and business organisations
- Research should be conducted honestly, objectively and without unwelcome intrusion or harm to respondents
- The rights of the respondents are paramount
- Research design should ensure the quality and reliability of information
Further to this:
- Respondents co-operation is entirely voluntary at all stages and they should not be misled for co-operation
- Respondents must be given the opportunity to withdraw at any stage and do not have to answer all questions
- Researchers should note that respondent sensitivity to a topic may influence their responses and lead to response bias
- Respondents must be told if an interview is being recorded, observed or monitored by the Council
- Respondents must be able to check the identity and bona fide credentials of the researcher
- Assurances as to length of the interview must be honoured
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