Britain’s research industry is taking action to curb so-called
’professionals’ who threaten to distort the accuracy of focus
The move is being made by the Association of Qualitative Researchers,
which claims to represent 90 per cent of those working in the
It plans to establish a national validation system, which will check the
credentials of people participating in group research and in-depth
Its action follows growing concern by advertisers about the number of
’professional respondents’ who are over-used and often do not meet the
specifications of the research project.
The association aims to set up a database of respondents, which will
allow research agencies and their clients to check the validity and
accuracy of respondent recruitment. At present, validation is informal
and restricted to individual agencies.
The initiative comes at a time of growth in the qualitative research
business, estimated to be worth pounds 156 million a year in
Laura Marks, the association’s chairman, said: ’Research among clients
has revealed there are some underlying worries. We have decided to take
positive action to pre-empt these concerns and to ensure qualitative
research is utilising the latest methodology to provide the best
The validation system, which should be running by next year, is expected
to be similar to databases operating in the US and France. A project
manager is being hired to evaluate systems in the UK and abroad.