The MRIA Privacy Code can be viewed here.

Category: Responsibilities
to the Public

  1. Do respondents have to be informed that a telephone interview may be recorded or monitored for quality control purposes in the US and Canada?
  2. Can a qualitative research database of respondents be sold to another company?
  3. What are the requirements for verifications or monitoring of telephone interviews?

Category: Responsibilities of Researchers to Clients

  1. I work for a marketing research company and my client has requested a written report. What should I include and how detailed should this be?

Category: Rules specific to conducting market research using the internet

  1. I am conducting an online survey for my company. Is it okay to send unsolicited emails using a list provided by one of our subsidiary company?
  2. Do I need to add SSL or encrypted security features to an online survey registration page given that Firefox and Internet Explorer 7 already provide enhanced security features?
  3. Are respondents personal email address considered as private information?

Category: Rules specific to conducting of qualitative research

  1. Can Focus Group results be considered representative?
  2. Can I use a respondent recruited for a specific study for another study?
  3. Can my friends and family participate in a focus group that I am moderating?
  4. I have audiotapes and videotapes from focus group sessions conducted a month ago. The results have been presented to the client. Should I dispose of them now?

CATEGORY: RULES SPECIFIC TO TELEPHONE SURVEYS

  1. What is the maximum number of times you are allowed to call a respondent?
  2. Is there a standard or guideline on the maximum number of interviews and single interviewer can complete per project over the telephone?

CATEGORY: RULES SPECIFIC TO DATA REPORTING

  1. One of your clients has a tracking study that has moved to another supplier. Should the client indicate that there has been a change in supplier and that this could affect trend data?
  2. Are there any set standards for reporting or asking questions on ethnicity?

Category: Responsibilities to the Public

1. Do respondents have to be informed that a telephone interview may be recorded or monitored for quality control purposes in the US and Canada?

Canada's privacy law, PIPEDA, requires that organizations identify their purposes and obtain consent when seeking to collect personal information from individuals. An individual's voice is regarded as personal information, although it may not be possible to identify a person by their voice alone. If a person’s name is known, and the telephone interview is being recorded, this must be disclosed at the outset of the call, stating that it may be monitored or recorded for quality assurance purposes.

In the U.S., some states’wiretapping laws require that both parties on a call must consent to monitoring or recording. The two parties in the research context would be the interviewer and the respondent. Other states require that only one party on the call must consent to monitoring or recording. In certain US states, this is not a requirement. As part of good marketing research practice, the monitoring or recording of a call for quality assurance purposes should be disclosed to all respondents as a general rule, rather than applying different rules for U.S. respondents depending on which state they reside in.

Keywords: Primary Records, Guarantees of Anonymity

2. Can a qualitative research database of respondents be sold to another company?

Whether the research database can be sold depends on what promises were made to the respondents when they agreed to be part of the database for ongoing research opportunities. If an agreement was made at the time of recruitment that personal information would never be sold to another company, personal information cannot be transferred to another company.

Many research companies address business transfers, mergers and acquisitions in their privacy policies.

In cases where a research company did not address business transfers in its privacy policy at all, then the information could be sold under B.C.'s, Alberta's, and Canada's respective privacy laws, provided the research company obtains respondents' consent.

Keywords: Primary Records, Guarantees of Anonymity

3. What are the requirements for verifications or monitoring of telephone interviews?

A Supervisor must monitor or verify a percentage of each Interviewer’s work. When monitoring, a minimum of 5% of each Interviewer’s completed interviews must be monitored. In order to ensure adequate quality checks, 75% of the whole interview must be monitored to count towards the 5% monitoring requirement. When verifying, a minimum of 10% of each interviewer’s completed interviews must be verified.

Keywords: Verification of Field


Category: Responsibilities of Researchers to Clients

4. I work for a marketing research company and my client has requested a written report. What should I include and how detailed should this be?

A typical research study would include a data tabulation plan (which is the reporting specification requirements). In addition, a technical appendix provides details on the study background (including objectives) and methodology.

The complexity of the study will determine the level of detail. It is important to consider your client’s level of understanding of marketing research. Findings should be supported by tables and charts. Adherence to good research practices will require the presentation of results in a format that provides a reasonable level of understanding for your client(s).

Keywords: Detail Reporting


Category: Rules specific to conducting market research using the internet

5. I am conducting an online survey for my company. Is it okay to send unsolicited emails using a list provided by one of our subsidiary company?

Researchers must not use unsolicited e-mail to invite consumers to participate in research. Researchers must verify that consumers contacted for research by email have a reasonable expectation that they will receive email contact for research, irrespective of the source of the list (i.e. Client, list owner, etc.).

Keywords:Unsolicited E-mail

6. Do I need to add SSL or encrypted security features to an online survey registration page given that Firefox and Internet Explorer 7 already provide enhanced security features?

Researchers must use up-to-date technologies to protect the personal data collected or stored on websites or servers. In particular, panel registration pages, and online surveys that collect sensitive personal information, must use Secure Socket Layer (SSL) or an equivalent level of protection. While the latest version of Firefox and Internet Explorer may provide improvements in browser security, only Secure Socket Layer (SSL) or an equivalent level of protection offers end-to-end encryption enabling data to be transferred securely.

Keywords: Data Security, Protection of Data

7. Are respondents personal email address considered as private information?

A Respondent’s email address is personal information and must be protected in the same way as other identifiers (telephone numbers).

Keywords: Privacy


Category: Rules specific to conducting of qualitative research

8. Can Focus Group results be considered representative?

The objective of qualitative research is to provide qualitative and not quantitative data. Each qualitative report must include a standard statement emphasizing that the results of the research are not statistically projectable. This caution should be included in the summary and the body of the report. Reports should not include percentages or precise proportions. Expressions such as some, most, or a few, may be used.

Keywords: Non-Projectability, Inclusion of Statement of Non-Projectability

9. Can I use a respondent recruited for a specific study for another study?

To protect the Respondents, persons recruited for a specific study must be used by the Moderator only for that study and not be recalled to participate in another qualitative study without prior permission of the initial Recruiter and the Respondent.

Keywords: Recruitment Specification, One Study

10. Can my friends and family participate in a focus group that I am moderating?

No Respondents should be recruited who know each other for the same study, unless they are in different groups or interviews that are scheduled separately. This prevents bias in comments made by respondents due to personal influence by family or friends.

Keywords: Default Recruitment Specification, General Public

11. I have audiotapes and videotapes from focus group sessions conducted a month ago. The results have been presented to the client. Should I dispose of them now?

Audio and video recordings, where applicable, must be kept by the Moderator, or in his or her absence, the Facility or Subcontractor, for a period of 12 months. Audio and video recordings should be disposed of in such a way as not to risk the security of the information obtained.

Keywords: Default Recruitment Specification, Security of Recording


CATEGORY: RULES SPECIFIC TO TELEPHONE SURVEYS
 

12. What is the maximum number of times you are allowed to call a respondent?

There are no published standards for maximum number of telephone callbacks;the number varies by supplier. Criteria for determining the highest level of call-backs are based on historical data, types of survey, interview length, and response rate.

It is important to recognize that there is a point at which there are diminishing returns and high call-backs will negatively impact response rate.

Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC) has developed several best practices with respect to telephone call-backs. These are available at http://www.tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca/rop-por/rapports-reports/telephone/etape-stage-02-eng.html. There, you will read: “Under the current Standing Offer of the Government of Canada, eight call-backs are required before a sample record is retired.”

13. Is there a standard or guideline on the maximum number of interviews a single interviewer can complete per project over the telephone?

There is no limit on the number of interviews per interviewer. This parameter is typically determined by available resources and efficiency or response rate criteria. Other factors are length of fieldwork period, number of supervisors, and monitoring protocols. Generally, a field house aims for an even distribution of interviews across their interviewers. However, for long telephone surveys, there is usually a skew towards good interviewers.


CATEGORY: RULES SPECIFIC TO DATA REPORTING

14. One of your clients has a tracking study that has moved from one supplier to another. Should the client indicate that there has been a change in supplier and that this could affect trend data?

By including a statement in the reporting of the data from this study, the researcher ensures the integrity of the research process. Below are optional statements that can be used.

1. The results for the period covered by the report are based on surveys conducted by two different companies. This change in supplier may affect trend data. However, every effort has been made to maintain the same metho - dology and market research standards.

2. Some of the findings presented in this report for the period covered by the report should be interpreted with caution because of a change in survey supplier. However, every effort has been made to maintain the same methodology and market research standards.

15. Are there any set standards for reporting or asking questions about ethnicity?

There are a no set standards for questions related to ethnicity. This is one of the difficult areas of research (see Statistics Canada online: “Challenges of Measuring an Ethnic World”). In most cases the standards depend on the level of granularity that is required.

In some cases, market researchers opt for detailed reporting that includes language, race, and country of origin. This option will likely capture a broader range of ethnic backgrounds. Other market researchers opt for simpler questions that relate language and geography to ethnic background. Both options are applicable. Your choice depends on the level of detail or comparability required. Statistics Canada includes detailed definitions for ethnicity.

 

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