International standard evolves to meet industry challenges

New standard reflects changing face of market and social research

BSI has launched a new revision of the international standard for market and social research in recognition of the vital role the activity plays in business growth and the development and evaluation of policy. The standard is also complemented by a new book offering a comprehensive review of what quality is, why it matters and how to implement a formal quality management system.
As a globally recognized framework, BS ISO 20252:2012 Market, opinion and social research – Vocabulary and service requirements provides a common language for researchers. Developed by global experts from the research sector, it sets a benchmark for quality assurance and good, effective market and social research practice.
BS ISO 20252:2012 has been developed with the Market Research Society, the Market Research Quality Standards Association and leading research suppliers and agencies. The 2012 revision reflects changing industry practice and the impact of new technologies on research methods, including online and mobile as well as the increasing use of panels.
The updated version sets out requirements for a quality management system and requires senior management to be responsible for quality of client service and continual improvement. The standard covers the management and delivery of research from the executive elements such as research proposals, designing questionnaires and discussion guides, sampling and data processing, and archiving documents. 
The standard makes provision for quantitative and qualitative research, including self-completion and observational data collection, both online and offline. Good data management and processing practice is also defined through coding, analysis, document retention and security (in accordance with the Data Protection Act), plus guidance on the recruitment and training of fieldworkers. 
BS ISO 20252:2012 will be of particular relevance to market and social research agencies and their clients where consistent and reliable delivery of quality services is essential. It also provides guidance for those conducting, commissioning or buying market or social research and assurance that local requirements are being met.
Richard Windle, Chairman, MRQSA said: “The UK market research industry welcomes a new version of BS ISO 20252. Technology is changing every part of our business and it is vital that the standard has been updated to reflect this. As new methods of data collection are developed quality must remain at the heart of what we do. BS ISO 20252:2012 will underpin the way we work today and in the future.”

Shirley Bailey-Wood Director of Publishing at BSI said: “Standards are ‘living documents’ and it is essential that they are regularly reviewed to ensure they evolve in line with the requirements of the respective industry. Quality is a very hot topic in the field of market and social research. The updated BS ISO 20252 allows research professionals factors to adopt a robust framework that will improve processes and reassure their clients.”
The accompanying book, Quality in Market Research, written by experts Debrah Harding and Peter Jackson, provides practical tips, examples, models, checklists and guidance for implementation, as well as a thorough background to the general concept of quality and how it relates to market and social research. 
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