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Researching children: are we getting it right? A discussion of ethics
Agnes Nairn and Barbie Clarke, International Journal of Market Research, Vol. 54, No. 2, 2012, pp. 177-198
As the role of children in society becomes more prominent, their participation in research seems set to increase.
As the role of children in society becomes more prominent, their participation in research seems set to increase. In this paper we review whether we are getting the ethics of children’s research right. We show that, since the late 1980s, children have been treated universally as a special case and that they have been accorded their own special set of human rights (UNCRC), which primarily grants them rights to protection and participation. We go on to argue (with practical examples) that the core MRS research principles of well-being, voluntary informed consent and privacy/confidentiality must be applied to children with particular caution and care. We note that, as research with children grows and as new techniques are developed, we are presented with fresh challenges for keeping children safe and maintaining their trust. We end by presenting the results of a survey that sought children’s views on being research participants in a quite sensitive piece of research. We found that children are highly appreciative of being consulted about their lives in general and being asked about their feelings. However we also found that some children can be uncomfortable with some of the issues raised and can feel compelled to answer the questions. We conclude that, while we have good industry codes, ethics evolves with shifting social, political and cultural patterns, and we need to keep challenging ourselves to maintain best practice.
I hadn't really thought about that! The organisational impact of research ethics
Marie-Agnès Beetschen and Agnes Nairn, ESOMAR, Congress, Amsterdam, September 2011
Ethical behaviour can have very positive impacts on corporate performance. It can result in higher employee motivation and involvement, lower staff turnover and even a better bottom line.
Ethical behaviour can have very positive impacts on corporate performance. It can result in higher employee motivation and involvement, lower staff turnover and even a better bottom line. This paper reviews a pioneering case study of how Unilever built a global research ethics awareness programme and how it is now impacting staff and corporate culture. Research ethics are high on the agenda in the research community but the impact of ethics is rarely measured or even discussed. The authors aim to stimulate creative discussion on how to approach ethics proactively and with a view to making an impact on organisational performance.
Researching Children: Are we getting it right? A discussion of ethics
Barbie Clarke and Agnes Nairn, Market Research Society, Annual Conference, 2011
This paper asserts that children are playing increasingly prominent roles in society, and they are therefore likely to attract more research.
This paper asserts that children are playing increasingly prominent roles in society, and they are therefore likely to attract more research. Therefore, researchers must remind themselves of their ethical responsibilities to respect the wellbeing, consent and privacy of children. It quotes evidence that children welcome being asked their opinions, but some feel uncomfortable with the questions they are asked. The article argues that it is important to remember that not all children will understand why they are being asked to take part in a study. The authors remind commercial researchers that they should be mindful of the different role that such research plays in the marketing mix, and they should not confuse research and selling. In the same vein, researchers should not mix doing pure research with running a sales or marketing campaign for clients.
Research with children and schools: a researcher's recipe for successful access
Katja Jezkova Isaksen and Stuart Roper, International Journal of Market Research, Vol. 52, No. 3, 2010, pp. 293-308
Despite the growing literature surrounding child research, little has been written about how to access samples of children – specifically within schools.
Despite the growing literature surrounding child research, little has been written about how to access samples of children – specifically within schools. For this reason, this paper aims to highlight potential barriers to access and provide practical guidance for child researchers wishing to work with schools. The guidance given is drawn from the experience of a doctoral researcher in a UK university, examining ‘the social and psychological impact of branding on adolescents’. Over the course of three years, over 60 schools were contacted, 13 accessed and data collected from over 1000 teenagers (13–15 year olds). The data collected were of both a qualitative and quantitative nature, and the sample size required ranged from four to 500 participants. Through a series of anecdotes and examples, this paper aims to equip (specifically novice) researchers with the essential knowledge needed to maximise their chances of access. This knowledge includes practical advice surrounding who to contact, how best to contact them, what to expect from them and, importantly, what can go wrong when working with schools as institutions.
Ethics in practice: using compliance techniques to boost telephone response rates
David H.B. Bednall, Stewart Adam and Katrine Plocinski, International Journal of Market Research, Vol. 52, No. 2, 2010, pp. 155-168
Survey researchers face declining response rates, due to lower contactability and more selective cooperation by potential respondents.
Survey researchers face declining response rates, due to lower contactability and more selective cooperation by potential respondents. Commercial market research companies are under even greater pressure than academic researchers as most commercial surveys do not have high social status. Several persuasion techniques to enhance cooperation have been used in academic surveys, though some of them might be considered unethical. Given the commercial pressures of time and cost, this study investigated the extent to which market research companies favoured these persuasion techniques. A survey of fieldwork managers in companies operating in Australia was conducted, along with qualitative research. It was found that some techniques were unacceptable as they threatened long-term relationships with the public, some were impractical and others were useful, but not for all surveys.
Certification of qualitative researchers - is it good, bad or ugly?
Hy Mariampolski, ESOMAR, Qualitative Research, Barcelona, November 2005
Following an overview of the history and current status of the certification issue, this paper reviews the several sides of the debate.
Following an overview of the history and current status of the certification issue, this paper reviews the several sides of the debate. This includes: a clarification of terms (what is certification and how is it different from similar processes such as credentialing, accreditation, standardization, etc.); certification and continuing education; certification and commoditization; and association certification vs. university programs. The paper concludes several possible scenarios for how certification will develop over the next several years and discusses implications for qualitative researchers and for ESOMAR as this issue continues to evolve.
Viewpoint - Maintaining research standards
Adam Phillips, International Journal of Market Research, Vol. 47, No. 5, 2005, pp. 465-466
Adam Phillips appeals for increased transparency by the industry in the way that it polices itself, in order to protect its self-regulatory status.
Adam Phillips appeals for increased transparency by the industry in the way that it polices itself, in order to protect its self-regulatory status. This is an increasingly important issue for an industry whose credibility and survival depend on maintaining the trust of key stakeholders: firstly, the general public as potential respondents; secondly, our clients who use the findings from research projects; and finally the legislators and regulators who are under increasing pressure to protect the rights and privacy of its citizens.
Raising professional standards
ESOMAR, Retail Conference, Budapest, April 2005
There has been rapid growth in demand for Mystery Shopping, as assuring the quality and consistency of service delivery has become one of the most important elements in the customer relationship mix.
There has been rapid growth in demand for Mystery Shopping, as assuring the quality and consistency of service delivery has become one of the most important elements in the customer relationship mix. Changes in technology and legislation have created a need to revise the ESOMAR Guidelines on Mystery Shopping. A team of experts in this field, including members of the Mystery Shopping Providers Association Europe, has been advising ESOMAR's Professional Standards Committee on the revision. The revised ESOMAR Guideline on Mystery Shopping Studies is enclosed.
E-Democracy - What is the MRS role?
Richard A. Bellamy, Stephen Shakespeare, Peter Kellner and Mark Hodson, Market Research Society, Annual Conference, 2004
During the Summer of 2003 a lot of people, in all walks of life were talking about Politics. Nothing new there! The difference was that several thousand of them were talking to a large online panel.
During the Summer of 2003 a lot of people, in all walks of life were talking about Politics. Nothing new there! The difference was that several thousand of them were talking to a large online panel. And that their discussions were being moderated by YouGov. We begin to see a route for Market Research to inform e-democracy.
Market Research: The Paradox of Influence Without Importance
MT Rainey, Market Leader, Issue 17, Summer 2002, pp. 16-17
This is an edited version of the keynote speech given by MT Rainey at the Market Research Conference, Brighton in March 2002.
This is an edited version of the keynote speech given by MT Rainey at the Market Research Conference, Brighton in March 2002. The speaker makes a plea for market research to come within the orbit of top management in industry rather than being a middle management tool devoted to risk reduction. As we live in a market economy she asks 'why isn't market research more important?'. She argues that research is increasingly talked of in terms of results and scores rather than finding and insights. She urges the market research industry to establish a new set of first principles and pool knowledge, data and insights to develop a new theory of the market and, indeed, society.
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