The MRS is coming to town…

We were recently fortunate enough to host one of the MRS Roadshow events at our offices here in Winchester. This meant that instead of just one or two of us hopping on the train to London, we were able to have 15 people attend from our offices, as well as MRS members from local companies (B&Q, Denplan) and Universities (Southampton, Winchester) to listen to what the MRS had to say.

It was a really interesting event for all attendees. From those of us who have been members for (..cough..) quite a long time, to those who were fairly new to the Society, there was definitely a lot to learn.

Speakers were  Jane Frost CBE (Chief Executive),  Debrah Harding (Chief Operating Officer) and Barry Ryan (Director, MRS Policy Unit) and their presentation was split into 3 distinct, but equally interesting and informative, sessions.

Jane Frost spoke first on the role of the MRS in wider society. Some very real life examples were shown of how the MRS is campaigning to protect and promote its legitimate members. They are ensuring that those who use the name of ‘market research’ are genuine and definitely not ‘SUGging’ (Selling Under the Guise of market research). The creation of the Fair Data quality stamp is also in place to ease the minds of consumers that their data is being handled securely and for purpose. Work is also being done to leverage learnings to Procurement divisions on buying of market research as a service not a commodity. And a great deal is being done through lobbying and high profile appointments to the board to ensure the voice of MR is heard.  There’s lots going on behind the scenes…

Debrah Harding talked us through the proposals for updating the membership scheme. The idea is to promote more continuous learning for ‘Certified’ Members, encouraging them to stay ahead of the game, not just in research, but in all elements of continued personal growth. The membership grades will be simpler to understand and will be more accessible ,particularly for those – like me – who haven’t quite got round to taking the Diploma yet – but who want to develop in other ways, these other course will now be taken into account. This, for me, is great as it tackles an issue which some of us have felt for a long time, that we don’t want to be stuck in the bubble of market research academia but develop skills in all aspects of the commercial world we work in …so watch this space!

Finally, Barry Ryan talked on MRS Policy in a style which was anything but dull. He outlined how some changes have had to be made to future proof the Code of Conduct as we move away from the majority of research having an interviewer present and we collect data from participants (no longer ‘respondents’) in many more ways than just asking them questions. He talked about the importance of Codeline for members and how it not only acts as a guide when ethical issues arise but it also serves to collect data on the types of issues which continually emerge in order to stay on top of them. The new Code aims to help members overcome the main difficulties for passive data collection, anonymity and informed consent. How do we get consent and maintain anonymity from someone who we have never actually spoken to? Again, if you have these ethical dilemmas emerging in your projects, I point you to the Codeline!

These changes are all due to go live in 2014 and current members of the MRS will be invited to comment. So stay aware of communications and have a read – we can probably all get more out of the MRS than we are currently doing – so I urge you to stay up to date.

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Danni Findlay
01962 842211
Article date - 09/12/2013
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