CASRO AND ESOMAR PARTNER IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF ONLINE SAMPLE QUALITY STANDARD

 

 


CASRO and ESOMAR have announced that they will partner on the development and implementation of an online sample quality standard that will assure consistency and transparency in online sampling processes. This standard will codify best practices in four areas: (1) respondent authenticity; (2) survey engagement; (3) within-survey and cross-survey de-duplication; and (4) participation frequency, with a focus on survey content categories. Compliance with this quality standard will be subject to verification through auditing and certification procedures conducted by independent and objective certification bodies.

The ESOMAR Council and the CASRO Board of Directors believe that the development of this standard will address research business and client needs, consistent with the ongoing commitment to quality assurance avowed by both associations. Finn Raben, Director-General of ESOMAR, stated “this joint initiative will establish a systematic, transparent and verifiable process that will benefit the members of both associations and the industry at large.” Susan Schwartz McDonald, Chair of CASRO, observed that this initiative is meant to ensure quality control outcomes and not to stifle creativity in reaching these outcomes or unnecessarily restrict the methods used to achieve them. “Compliance to a certified standard does not imply uniformity of process – only accountability for outcomes using explicit procedures that are subject to certification,” she said. This standard will also consider the industry’s ethical responsibilities to research participants as described in the CASRO Code and the ICC/ESOMAR Code. ESOMAR President, Dieter Korczak, stated that “this standard must reflect our commitment to research respondents that we will respect their time and value their participation.”

The development of the standard will be a priority project for the associations, and a Task Force has already been established to draft the standard. The Task Force will be led by Chair, Peter Milla (Peter Milla Consulting), Reg Baker (Market Strategies International), Duane Berlin (Lev & Berlin), Simon Chadwick (Cambiar), and Mike Cooke (GfK representing ESOMAR). Panel companies, sampling businesses, as well as full-service research agencies will have the opportunity to review, comment, and contribute to the development of the standard. “A primary goal of this effort will be to build a definitive quality standard with the participation of all the stakeholders in the industry so that researchers can deliver the quality respondents that buyers need,” said Peter Milla. Simon Chadwick added, “Clients rightly expect that the data they receive from online surveys be accurate and replicable. It is the industry’s responsibility to give concrete assurance that this is the case and that clients can trust in the decisions that they make on the basis of these data.”

This quality standard will be aligned with the associations’ mandatory and enforceable codes—the ICC/ESOMAR Code and the CASRO Code of Standards and Ethics. In addition, the Task Force will consider other industry standards, such as ISO 20252 and ISO 26362, and other online quality projects to ensure that the standard balances research principles and business practices, and supports industry self-regulation. The Task Force will also contact major research clients to seek their involvement in the development of this standard and in reviewing and endorsing its provisions. Because of ongoing changes in methodology and technology, the Task Force will continuously review and improve the standard. “It is critically important that we continue to conduct the research necessary to establish evidence-based best practices and, then, to promote those practices across the industry,” said Reg Baker. It is envisioned that CIRQ (the CASRO Institute for Research Quality), which was created to provide auditing and certification services for ISO quality standards, could also serve as a verifying body for this quality standard, certifying through its auditing processes that a company has achieved compliance with the provisions of the CASRO-ESOMAR Online Sample Quality Standard.

The Task Force is planning to submit a draft standard to the industry for public comment later this year. This fast-track timetable has been established to meet the needs of CASRO and ESOMAR members, clients, and the industry as a whole. “ESOMAR and CASRO have a long and productive history of working together on standards, guidelines, and government affairs,” said Diane Bowers, President of CASRO, “so I am confident that we will be able to meet our deadline.” In the past few years, CASRO has cooperated with ESOMAR on the development or revision of guidelines for mobile research, online research, and social media research. Most recently, ESOMAR has joined with CASRO on submitting a position paper to the FTC regarding the FTC’s Privacy Report “A Proposed Framework for Businesses and Policymakers” and collaborated on a position paper presented to the Worldwide Web (W3C) Consortium on Web Tracking and User Privacy.

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