So, the first and most important rule of conducting any scientific study containing human animals is the informed and voluntary consent, and the permission to abort one’s participation at any given time in the process of the study (unless it is an anonymous questionnaire).
What many market-researchers do not seem to grasp is that the same ethical laws and rules apply to them. Oppinion based studies are still studies. Studies that can affect the one that is participatling and should follow the same regulations as a clinical study.
Why am I reacting to market studies all of a sudden?
Well after experiencing that they most often are not at all anonymous as they claim to be (exceptions not included), I also expirienced the worst form of rudeness and violation to the code of ethics that exists to protect the respondent, the free will and voluntary participation act. Which is one of the building stones of all ethics and human rights.
How does one achieve this, in a survey none the less?
You just have to write 5 little words…….
“Thank you for your participation”
You as a researcher do not only assume that the person reading your questionnaire will answer, you put a sense of guilt and obligation in to the persons hands, which goes against your purpose to begin with.
It might be a seemingly trivial thing to get worked up about. But the code exists for a reason, so we won’t go back to the dark past when we didn’t care about the respondants, only the result and when human and animal rights were violated as praxis in every study. And the picture is from the learning museum in Sweden. Recently there was a decision to include all forms of shellfish and other oceanic creatures to the list of animals who are protcted by research regulations in ethical approvals within the European Union. Wonderful that my friend the angry crab can have some justice!
So please dear researchers, market or lab, refrain from that 5 worded curtesey phrase and just write Sincerely or nothing at all.
You can thank your respondants by making this world a little better instead.