By Reg Baker
As our profession evolves into new practices, then so must our ICC/ESOMAR International Code on Market and Social Research. As the ICC/ESOMAR Code is of vital importance to our profession, all ESOMAR members can vote on it in a Referendum, which will be open until 31 October 2016. In this article, Reg Baker, who was part of the project team revising the ICC/ESOMAR Code, addresses one of concerns that came to light in the revision process.
Thus far, the newly revised version of the ICC/ESOMAR Code has been mostly well received by ESOMAR members with one notable exception: use of the word data subject in place of respondent. As one member queried, “What’s that all about?”
There are two answers to that question. The simplest (and perhaps least satisfying) explanation is that data privacy legislation worldwide is migrating toward the use of the term. Given current and widespread concerns about privacy and the increasing use and misuse of personal data linking the Code and the guidelines that support it to the relevant legal concepts and terminology makes good sense.
But, there also is another much more relevant explanation that grew out of the ongoing evolution and diversification of research methods and practices. When the vast majority of research was done with surveys and focus groups—that is, asking questions and recording answers—the term respondent was an accurate description of how individuals participated in research. In some of our recent guidelines we refer to this as active research, defined as “the collection of data through direct interaction with an individual.”
More recently we have seen an increase in the use of passive methods, meaning “the collection of personal data by observing, measuring or recording an individual’s actions or behaviour.” In this context, the term respondent no longer seems appropriate. There still may be an interaction with the individual, for example to gain consent, but there no longer are questions and answers. In this context the term respondent seems odd, and so we moved to research participant, to cover people who take part in both active and passive methods.
Enter big data, or as we describe it in the revised Code, secondary data, defined as “data collected for another purpose and subsequently used in research.” With secondary data researchers generally do not interact with those individuals whose personal data we might acquire and analyse as part of our research, so defining them either as respondents or even research participants makes no sense. Hence the term, data subject, defined simply as “any individual whose personal data is used in research.”
Of course, we could continue to use three different terms, each in their specific context and sometimes in combination. To those of us who work on the teams that develop guidelines, this seems to add complexity without adding value. And so, over the coming months as we go back to update our guidelines to reflect the enhancements in the new Code we plan to use the single term data subject to signal anyone whose personal data is used in research, regardless of how it was obtained.
Reg Baker, Consultant to the ESOMAR Professional Standards Committee and Executive Director of MRII
WHY YOU NEED TO VOTE FOR THE NEW CODE:
By Stephanie Alaimo
Researchers – and research buyers – want their research to be impactful. NGO’s and donors want to create programs that are impactful. How can we unite the market research industry, NGO’s, and donors? How can we use Market Research methods to best fit the needs of NGO’s committed to creating positive social change in the world?
These questions were addressed in the Impact of Social Research Workshop, on the opening Sunday of the ESOMAR annual Congress. So many of us enter research because of a profound curiosity about people, and a need to leverage that curiosity professionally. And many of us would like to know how to use that curiosity to create social change. In this workshop, we heard concrete examples of how our skills can go to work for the world.
The workshop opened with an introduction by Phyllis Mcfarlane, the treasurer of the ESOMAR Foundation. The ESOMAR Foundation began in late 2013, staffed by a team of four volunteer ESOMAR members, hailing from the UK, India, and Argentina. After the initial growing pains of establishing an international foundation, the group focused its attention on its goals. These include the Education Programme, which focuses on the education and training of young professionals in the market research industry in countries where access to such training is traditionally limited, the Better Results Programme, which helps NGO’s around the world to obtain better results, and finally, and finally the Researcher in Need Programme, which aims to assist researchers who have suffered from political unrest or environmental catastrophe.
Mcfarlane spoke to us of the fantastic successes the Foundation has achieved in its first few years. The foundation launched its first education project, in 2013, in Myanmar. The Myanmar project was a great success, brought about through partnership with the Myanmar Marketing Services Association and the MMSA. The programme provided one week of training in market research techniques for 40 students and young professionals. It was such a success, that the programme will be repeated. The Foundation is also expanding this programme to Kenya, with cooperation from the Kenyan Social and Market Research Association and MSRA.
The Foundation has also assisted the survivors of the Rwandan genocide to develop business skills and market research skills. These skills will prove invaluable to those that will eventually use them to start their own businesses. The Foundation also provides scholarships to promising young scholars and aspiring market researchers, in countries such as South Africa And Kenya.
We heard next from Sally Panayiotou, the Director of Kantar Public Research UK. Ideally, social research can inform social policy so they can create the most positive impact. Panayiotou emphasized that social research requires us to engage frequently with at risk and difficult to engage research subjects. This requires us, as researchers, to be particularly careful when selecting our methodologies. How will we discuss sexual health with women in Africa? How will we talk to AIDS victims? How can we discuss child abuse? How can we be truly empathetic, make respondents feel comfortable enough to talk to us, and reassure them that their answers are confidential? How can we create research that does not alienate our respondents? These are all important questions when working with these groups. Sally noted that we can frame our questions in non-threatening ways, be empathetic, and help respondents to feel comfortable by giving them “examples” of what others might think or feel about an issue.
But most importantly to NGO’s and donors, how do we know if programmes are working? Social change must be measured, and that, of course, requires research. Ongoing partnerships between research vendors, NGO’s, and donors can help provide important insights along the way to social change. So, there are various points at which those committed to social change can benefit from ongoing research.
Panayiotou pointed out that through all of this, it is most important to remember that social research gives the underrepresented a voice. Social research must come back to people, and create meaningful progress in their lives. In order to be providing research that enables this, we must be methodologically rigorous, and we must design research that is appropriate for the intervention.
Next, we heard about a fabulous project with great potential to provide insights to NGO’s and policy makers. Imagine if survey by survey, IDI by IDI, we could all contribute to a global body of research, a constantly growing social dataset, accessible to anyone who might need the information…. Imagine that the data collected could be targeted towards issues, generating data that could answer some of our most pressing global questions? This would be wonderful, wouldn’t it? Well, this is the aim of Paragon Partnership. Paragon, presented Namika Mediratta of Unilever, partners companies such as Uniliver and Coca-Cola with research vendors such as Kantar and Nielsen, NGO’s, and organizations such as ESOMAR. The partnership aims to provide the research required to tackle the UN’s 17 point plan of Global Goals (http://www.globalgoals.org/).
Next, imagine that Paragon’s data could be collected as easily as receiving a text message. It could be, with GeoPoll. SMS research is unique for its global reach, and the place that mobile phones play in our lives. Phones are now among the most personal of devices, especially in Africa. More affordable and more accessible than computers, mobile phones are a great avenue for research. In Africa, where respondents can be inaccessible due to low levels of internet penetration, rural conditions, and far distances, SMS research offers many solutions to these problems. Cathy VonderHaar, of GeoPoll, USA, spoke about the phenomenal success GeoPoll has found through SMS based research around the continent. They have had remarkable success, owing partially to the fact that they have secured strategic partnerships with many of Africa’s mobile phone service provides, allowing them them to have databases that include least 50% of mobile phone users in all of the 26 countries in which they currently operate. This allows them amazing results even when incidence is low.
Research conducted through SMS has the benefit of being administered on a device with which the respondent is very comfortable. They can respond from their homes, and they will also respond succinctly, due to the format. But, since the device is so familiar, GeoPoll has gotten extremely personal, compelling responses, on everything from domestic violence and rape in the DRC, to the perceptions and fears surrounding the Ebola crisis in Sierra Leone. And just as importantly, since mobile technology is convenient and fast, GeoPoll is able to monitor quickly evolving situations.
These four fascinating projects have the unique commonality of leveraging market research tools in the service of the public good. As Maaya Sundaram of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation pointed out during the panel discussion, their success relies on their ability to adapt their service and their language to the needs of the social and public sectors. Speaking to donors and NGO’s is a different language, and a different set of priorities than many of us on the consumer side are used to. Learning these languages, and recognizing the unique needs of this very important sector is essential if we, as a professional community, are to participate in the social changes that so many of us would want to see in the world around us.
Stephanie Alaimo is one of the official RWC bloggers for Congress 2016.
Jerry Wind is a marketing veteran who has seen it all before. He tells Jo Bowman that the ad world ain’t seen nothing yet.
To make predictions about how much the world might change by 2020 seems somewhat risky; it’s far enough away to be pretty tough to call correctly, yet not so far out that when the time comes, everyone will remember what you said.
Jerry Wind, Lauder Professor and Professor of Marketing at The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, has been gathering views from thought leaders and innovators from around the world about what advertising could or should look like in 2020. The result is his latest book Beyond Advertising and it’s grim reading for anyone planning on making small, gradual adjustments to their current strategy.
What’s driving change, Wind says, is not just the obvious big shift – technology – but a confluence of major forces that he says is up-ending the old mechanics of advertising and the balance of power on which it was based. The old world of advertising, he says, is defunct, or at the very least, a good way to waste a lot of money.
Technology is bringing “truly revolutionary dramatic changes”, and the connectedness of people, homes, cars and devices is an enormous shift for businesses and brands – one that can potentially work in companies’ favour. Mobile and social media are generating data streams that enable brands to know what a consumer is doing, where they are, who they are with and even what kind of mood they’re likely to be in. But at the same time, consumers are growing increasingly skeptical of the business world and its advertising claims.
Demographic changes around the world mean the gap between the haves and the have-nots is widening in many markets, and these shifts are leading to entirely new ways of working – new business models and new revenue models.
“If you look at all of these forces of change, and their interdependency, and you look at the magnitude and speed of change, you realise that you can’t just keep doing what you’ve (always) been doing,” Wind says. He points out that huge change – over a longer period of time, perhaps – has proved this point before. Only 12% of the Fortune 500 companies of 1965 are still in that top 500. To look at it another way, 88% of businesses that once dominated the world have vanished into obscurity.
If you’re an ESOMAR member you can read the full article in MyESOMAR in the digital copy of Research World. If you are not a member of ESOMAR you can join and receive a free copy of Research World 6 times a year or alternatively you can sign up for a subscription of the magazine in our publications store.
Meet 5 Millennials in Market Research who have helped shape the ESOMAR Congress 2016 Presentation Program.
They share your passion for Aha! Moments, consumer understanding and data discovery. And the way the Pokémon Go Craze simultaneously amazes and annoys you.
Caroline, Devika, Jason, Katia and Till are Explorers, Thought Leaders and Creators. They also all happen to be born after 1986.
I’ve had the opportunity to catch up with them on topics spanning their favorite apps and festivals, their ESOMAR submissions and their vision for the future of our industry. Enjoy the read and be sure to check out their ESOMAR Congress 2016 sessions (in NOLA or from the comfort of your screens – dates and times outlined below)!
1/ Market Research in 2026
Giulia: Let’s talk about the Future of Market Research. Imagine it’s 2026. What does that landscape look like, compared to today?
Caroline: Tech startups will be using wearable technology to measure actual emotional response in real time. Plus the standard KPIs because they will never truly (and shouldn’t) die.
Jason: There will be a shift in how we measure attitudes towards certain key benefits of a brand or category: from long lists of statements tested quantitatively, to using images and short snappy wording. Deeper insight will be coming from qualitative work.
Katia: MRX will be about smart data integration – where the only thing that we will still end up asking consumers is the why.
Till: We’ll be fully immersed in an environment that allows us researchers to constantly draw the information most relevant to any given ad-hoc research question. Concepts will be evaluated by generating data in an experimental setting (behavior tracking). Data will be interpreted against a broader tracking ecosystem of other relevant data (KPIs). I hope the PowerPoint and Excel era will come to an end in order to give experiments and real work with data more room to flourish.
Did the future of MRX just get “Moore’s Lawyered”?
These visions portray an industry that is not only leaping, but leapfrogging forward, heavily driven by ever-accelerating technology capabilities. Concepts like full automation, virtual reality and symbiotic relationships between human senses and electronic circuits come to mind. Which triggers a spontaneous question: how will we make sense of so much immersive data? Will this make us even more “Data rich and Insight poor”?
From TMI to TMY
Not according to our Millennial Researchers. To temper the threat of drowning in too much information, their visions include additional solutions, like standard KPIs or qualitative work. In essence, we’re looking at a future where the WHATs will be automated, and our job will be to make sense of them and uncover the WHYs.
2/ ESOMAR: start, stop, continue
Giulia: What can ESOMAR start/stop/keep doing to remain/become future proof or consistently be future-generation friendly?
Caroline: Innovation has been a big buzz word for a while now, but I think it is especially important in research – to remain relevant to clients, leadership, and the people we are contacting for sample. A Shark Tank-esque competition for new and innovative research techniques could be a cool way to get innovative ideas flowing (and heard about).
Jason: I guess an easy answer is to continue supporting mobile research. I also agree with the view that attention spans are getting shorter, and therefore chunking of surveys is probably the future (i.e. get Person A to answer Section 1, get Person B to answer Section 2, etc., and then fill in the gaps based on answers from similar types of people).
“Stimulate the conversation on how to turn the industry away from becoming a dinosaur.”
Katia: ESOMAR should keep on giving the stage to Millennials with bold ideas – also from outside our industry. Bring young researchers together more, stimulate the conversation on how to turn the industry away from becoming a dinosaur. I also see an opportunity to stop using the traditional white paper formats – they are often lengthy and could benefit from a snappier, more visually engaging look and feel. This will help especially when presenting points of view and case studies.
Till: ESOMAR should start a crowd funding platform for good ideas and business opportunities by startups who might change the way we do market research. You know, ESOMAR as a VC (Venture Capitalist) or business angel. That’d be something that could help the organization stand out and above all others. And of course… that’s also the future.
Are blurring industry lines a threat to ESOMAR? Or an opportunity?
There seems to be tension between what was and what will be. Business model revolutions in other industries seem to be trickling into the Research reality. We’ve developed the habit of expecting new players to emerge from the most unexpected places.
Rather than considering this a threat to ESOMAR, our team of Millennial researchers sees it as an opportunity to learn, open up and respond to new kinds of stimuli. Just like our favorite brands learn from us and grow with us, so should our industry – and ESOMAR has full permission to helm it.
3/ Market Research across Generations
Giulia: A GenX-er, a Baby Boomer and a Millennial working at the same research agency walk into a bar… What are they ordering? Laughing about or looking forward to? Talking about that bothers them?
Caroline: The Millennial is too busy looking at their phone at first – then they get a craft beer on tap. The bartender overlooks the GenX-er, and the Boomer gets a glass of wine. They’re all looking forward to family moments (Millennial’s friend is getting married to Boomer’s daughter, Gen-Xer has third baby on the way). What bothers them? Pokémon Go across the board.
Devika: I think they’re all worried about different things – the Boomer about becoming insignificant, the Gen-Xer about not settling down and the Millennial about not finding greatness and their own calling.
Jason: I still think that what bothers them unites them: today, probably politics across the board.
Katia: They’d all drink Belgian beer of course – so that’s another thing that brings them together! When it comes to arguments, I’m sorry for feeding the stereotypes here, but I do think Boomers would focus on how rigorous analysis and traditional proven methods are not appreciated enough anymore, while Millennials would be talking about how recruitment and research methods are not in line with today’s reality. And that they’re causing our very own global warming of Panels. And that it’s time for disruptive thinking.
At ESOMAR NOLA, I’d love to put the two people with most and least research experience next to one another to hear their thoughts on our industry: evaluating the past and looking at the future.
“The Boomer is laughing at the Millennial: ‘You guys cannot have everything. Settle down a bit.”
Till: The Baby Boomer is ordering a Whiskey or Gin and Tonic. The GenX-er orders a Beck’s Beer. He’s retro like that. The Millennial doesn’t really know what to order at first so she takes a few minutes to study the menu. She’s torn between a craft beer, the Club-Mate and the new bio coke. She eventually asks the waiter to pick one, because it’s what Kahneman told us to do.
Next, the Boomer is laughing at the Millennial: “You guys cannot have everything. Settle down a bit”. The Millennial tries to convince the Baby Boomer that enough isn’t enough and people can change the world. The GenX-er kind of isn’t participating in the conversation. It seems as if he’s more interested in his second round of beer.
It bothers the others that the Millennial seems to lead the way with new progressive ideas and ways to live and think. And it bothers the Millennial that too many people from both generations are in positions where they decide and make changes based upon their personal beliefs, that are mostly NON-Millennial.
Giulia: Since we’re on the topic – tell me about the last time you heard someone talk/read something about Millennials. Like the first blog post in my Research X Millennials content series (wink wink).
Caroline: Literally every single day. And I don’t mean the figurative definition of literally! Earlier this week I went to a meeting hosted by Delta’s CMO and one of the topics was – you guessed it – Millennials. Someone posed a question asking if we are doing enough to target the Millennial generation.
The answer to that question is a whole different can of worms, but I found his response refreshing. Without getting into the details of what we are/are not doing, he acknowledged that the bulk of leadership at Delta are not Millennials – rather, their kids are. They can try to understand them, but will always be an outsider looking in. While I myself am a Millennial, the majority of people I work are not – including the ones fielding research and writing reports on Millennials. I think recognizing that there will be a disconnect between leadership and an audience segment is the first step to bridging that gap.
Devika: I’d love to share this article that had a great impact on me – it made me better understand myself and why I feel pressured. The article, I feel, accurately addresses the pressures of Millennials – the idea that we can achieve greatness and our need to find it (our calling). However, I don’t agree with the bit where it assumes all Millennials are lazy and looking for shortcuts. I have only seen otherwise.
Jason: I found this Instagram post struck close to home. Millennials like that people view them as different. They like the fact they aren’t expected to get married until 30, and how it’s become cool to be a hippy who travels for the sake of travel instead of buckling down into a career for 40 years straight.
However, they still think it’s edgy to do this and show it off – edgy to be breaking the old paradigm. Your research suggests that Millennials are less trusting of others, and search for authenticity. I would say this lends itself to their exaggerated propensity for travel: they want to ‘stick it to the man’ who they don’t trust and who wants them to work in a suit for a living.
Your research also says they acknowledge and engage in a more dynamic and changing workplace. What is more dynamic then dipping in and out of work, in different countries, and travelling in between? I’m getting tired of seeing travel posts on my newsfeed about ditching materialism and spending money on experiences, all from newly-philosophical 20 somethings who have quit their first office job.
It’s no longer original/authentic to be a travel bug and go to Europe and say you prefer to go off the beaten path. Every path you take will be beaten now.
Millennials have tried so hard to break out of the traditional life-cycle mold that they have created a new mold they all fall into. One where being an interesting individual means to travel a lot, if only for the sake of it. I am one of these people.
“I feel like there is a direct correlation between technology advances and society’s ability to wait patiently.”
Caroline: I thought the impact in the workplace section of your “Research about Millennials” blog post was especially interesting, and was with the majority who voted that they (we) have had a significant impact.
While I agree with the concept of ‘experience hopping’ and the need for more leadership development, I think there is another factor shaping the Millennial workforce – patience (or a lack thereof). I feel like there is a direct correlation between technology advances and society’s ability to wait patiently.
In a world where we’re accustomed to immediate responses and lightning speed internet, it is no wonder that the desire to switch jobs is growing. We see people like Mark Zuckerberg reaching billionaire status by 30 and tech startups earning millions in their 20’s. A drive for success is a common thread across all generations – however it seems that the time expected to achieve success has been reduced – we want to be successful ASAP – and that means moving up in our careers at unprecedented levels.
A promotion a year seems completely reasonable, but that would mean that 5 years out of college we’d all be at the leadership level, and companies are pretty top-heavy already. The best way to move up in many cases is to switch jobs – even if the preferred track is at your current company. The desire to succeed (i.e. promotions & raises) wins out over the patience typically required to move up within a single organization. I don’t think it is driven by entitlement but rather a need to prove self-worth in a world where other people’s success stories are widely broadcast via social media for us to compare ourselves to.
The world is moving faster than ever, and it seems the need to keep up is a powerful driver of Millennial decisions in the workplace.
Till: Here’s an Instagram from my past to make a point. It’s about telling everybody that I’m so international, working in London for 2 days. Taking a picture of a coffee place (which is cool), a hand-written notebook (which shows my deep thoughts) and a smartphone which shows that I’m connected. All of that is topped off by using the perfect filter (color of the cup and the table top) which shows that I’m artsy and know design.
And that is my opinion about my own peers: Making a lot out of little. Giving meaning to everything. Trying to present myself as individualistically as possible.
4/ YOU in Market Research
Giulia: What is your biggest achievement or proudest moment when it comes to your team’s submission for the ESOMAR Congress?
Caroline: My first experience with ESOMAR was as an MMR (Master of Marketing Research) grad student at UGA (University of Georgia) – I remember being so impressed by the vendor booths and speakers so to actually be presenting is a big accomplishment in itself!
Devika: My big moment was having pulled off the study on which we based our paper – it was something new, completely absorbing and difficult to pull off – and completing it and getting the amazing results that we did was a big big high!
But reading the acceptance mail from Congress and finding out that our paper had been selected was an even bigger achievement! And then, to top that, our paper got shortlisted as a finalist for the Best Paper Award – which was the biggest, most exciting and celebrated moment of this entire journey so far!
Jason: Simply being involved. I was the lead analyst in the research our submission is based on, and ‘unearthed’ the key findings. I was proud that I was asked by my very experienced colleagues to read over and tighten the analysis section of our submission.
Till: I’m presenting with my best friend. And we’ve been trying to improve the industry for years and now we get to present our ideas in New Orleans, in the USA. Get to share our thoughts. WOW.
|Caroline Smiley||Devika Johar||Jason Morris||Katia Pallini||Till Winkler|
|Delta Airlines||The Third Eye||Millward Brown||InSites Consulting||SKOPOS|
|The Power of Reflective Content –
A study of spare time and how
we spend it
|Respondent Engagement –
Investing in “sticky-ness”
|The Power is in the Mix –
How smart data integration
will reinvent the (survey) research industry
|User Experience –
Testing in the Digital Age – How agile research
enables our industry not only to
stay relevant but to increase
our business impact
Empire C & D
11:20 – 11:35
17:20 – 17:40
17:00 – 17:20
09:35 – 09:55
Empire C & D
|Curious to learn more? Check out the presentations at the 69th ESOMAR Congress in New Orleans!|
So WHAT: Are we all just afflicted by a serious case of #keepingup?
Market Research is #keepingup with making sense of technology in a way that makes the race of our industry look like an obstacle course sprinkled with Data Rich/Insight Poor traps.
ESOMAR is #keepingup with the fast-moving reality of a changing business landscape, where research/start up worlds/crowdsourcing/big ideas that get big funding could be what propels all of us into the future – if we let it and learn from it.
Others are #keepingup with the Millennial generation. And Millennials? They are #keepingup with the hyped stereotypes (stereohypes?) of their own generation. Or with proving that they are not like the stereotypes. On a deeper level, Millennials are #keepingup with the many success stories surrounding them and appearing on their news feeds every day.
#keepingup might be tiresome and stressful – but it seems like a good way to overcome the inevitable Dunning-Kruger effect that drives generations away from one another.
To be a Millennial Researcher in this world means to live in a kind of hyper-reality, where we find ourselves under the research lens as much as behind it. This creates not only more (self-) consciousness, but also a vision of the future that is coming at us faster, in more colors and less pixelated than ever before.
Bonus: one app and two festivals
Till: I discovered Number26, which is really a banking company that offers a great app that allows me to control my spending, my savings and my overall money transfer process through an app. The app is so easy and with touch ID it makes transferring money to friends (e.g. for a shared dinner) so easy and it happens within seconds. Also it’s free and it’s a really big difference to the classic, old fashioned banks.
Jason: Went to Wireless in London mid-June. Was very fun experiencing how hyped up the crowd got for BBK (most popular Grime group in UK/London) as I am from New Zealand and listen to American hip hop mainly. I have been to a lot of festivals but their set was the craziest I’ve been too. Nearly got enveloped by ~10 mosh pits, thought I was going to pass out from heat at a few points, and was literally too dangerous to record any footage on my phone. Great times.
Katia: every year there is a big festival in Ghent, my hometown, where for 10 days there is music and concerts on the streets of the historic center. It is a yearly tradition for the locals and a must attend for those that are visiting!
Giulia Gasperi is known mostly for her faith in unicorns and love for fun facts. She speaks 5 languages and has resided in 9 countries across 4 continents. Today, as Research Director at InSites Consulting, she inspires top-tier brands all over the world and helps them unlock extraordinary insights from everyday consumer realities. Tomorrow, she hopes to become a ballerinastronaut.
Top research and civil society associations dispatch open letter to plea for the establishment of an extraordinary multi-disciplinary expert group
Amsterdam, 19 July, 2016
ESOMAR – the world association for market, social and opinion research, together with 8 associations representing civil society and research, has dispatched an open letter calling on the European Union (EU) institutions to redouble efforts towards more citizen-centric and evidence-based policy- using opinion and social research to assess and evaluate possible future scenarios after the Brexit referendum.
“In order to support and guide any upcoming negotiations with the UK and future EU decision-making process, it is now more critical than ever before to conduct extensive research into the will, and aspirations of the European electorate,” highlights Finn Raben, Director General of ESOMAR, author of the open letter.
The letter highlights the importance of establishing a true and comprehensive understanding of citizen needs and aspirations both in the United Kingdom and the rest of the EU and underlines the role that research can play in uncovering how to better communicate with constituencies about the complex and long-term issues facing Europe. The signatories are calling the European institutions to take these following steps:
- Establish a cross-party and multi-disciplinary expert group composed of academics, experts from research and civil society organisations, and representatives of the EU institutions, to consider the implications of the referendum.
- Issue a call for tender to conduct comprehensive and wide-ranging social research by researchers that abide to the principles of accepted codes of conduct governing market, opinion, and social research.
- Work with the expert group to evaluate and build possible strategies to follow through on the referendum, and even, to formulate possible negotiation strategies (for both sides) on implementing Brexit.
“This initiative, supported by 9 associations, underlines the broad support from both the research community and European civil society to understand more systemically why Europe is failing to inspire its citizenry, what it needs to do to reconnect with all its constituencies. We have to go beyond business as usual and only Brussels can take that first step to position research to help it tackle that disillusion,” adds Kim Smouter, Head of Public Affairs and Professional Standards at ESOMAR.
The open letter is to be supported by a #CitizensFirst social media campaign, individuals and organisations wishing to support the key recommendations of the Open letter can formally register their support by visiting ESOMAR’s website where the open letter and a form to register support has been set-up. The webpage is located at: http://www.esomar.org/citizensfirst.
ESOMAR is the world association for encouraging, advancing and elevating market research worldwide.
WAPOR – World Association For Public Opinion Research
SYNTEC Etudes – Le syndicat représentatif des professionnels des études en France
CEV – European Volunteer Centre
ECAS – European Citizen Action Service
EFC – European Foundation Centre
ENNA – European Network of National Civil Society Associations
FEDRA – Federation of Regional Growth Actors in Europe