Jane Frost on the MRS Code of Conduct

Jane Frost, CEO of the Market Research Society (MRS), recently joined our guest host Charlotte Hearst to discuss the significance of the MRS Code of Conduct in ensuring that the U.K.'s market research sector continues to build trust and maintains its reputation. The Code guarantees clients a certain level of quality and adherence to ethical principles. It emphasizes transparency, honesty, non-influence of research subjects, confidentiality, respect, and independence in professional judgment. The Code also prevents any actions that could harm the reputation of the research industry.

Jane says that this directly affects how much clients are willing to invest in research services. She stated, "It's really important. How we do our research is a major influence on how much people pay us for our research." This link underscores the economic significance of following codes like this one, building confidence in the quality and ethics of research both in general, and specifically that which is conducted by MRS-accredited professionals.

So, what exactly does the MRS Code of Conduct encompass? Jane elaborated on its comprehensive nature and longevity (nearly seven decades), as well as outlining its core principles and guidelines, which are informed by the latest industry developments. She touched on how the Code is continually updated to remain relevant, adapting to technological changes across the research ecosystem. Currently, there is a large focus on addressing issues related to AI, which often lacks transparency in how results are generated. She stressed the importance of transparency in AI to build trust in research outcomes.

Beyond AI, the Code also evolves in response to changing industry dynamics and societal concerns, to enhance transparency and accountability. Jane highlighted updates such as placing a greater emphasis on equality and diversity, with the Code now requiring research organizations to be transparent about how they generate samples to back up claims of representativity. Another update relates to non-disclosure agreements (NDAs), and they have introduced a requirement that NDAs should not compromise adherence to the Code of Conduct. 

Regarding overarching aims, Jane expressed a desire for all research conducted in the U.K. to align with the Code. Jane tells us that this alignment is crucial for commercial success, ethical integrity, and safeguarding the supply chain, particularly in terms of data and the experiences of research subjects. The code is not just about the reputation of the industry; it's about maintaining a commitment to ethical and high-quality research practices.

When asked about benchmarks regarding the effectiveness of adhering to the Code, Jane mentioned studies by organizations like GRBN, which assess the effectiveness of research practices. While it's challenging to establish a direct link, clients increasingly demand it as proof of quality in their procurement processes, reinforcing the importance of the Code in the industry.

In short, Jane indicates that adhering to the Code provides brands with the assurance of ethical and high-quality research practices. This assurance is essential when making critical business decisions based on research findings - essentially becoming a beacon of trust surrounding market research.

No Comments Yet

Let us know what you think

Subscribe by email