The Market Research Institute International, in cooperation with the University of Georgia Center for Continuing Education, has launched a new online course to help market researchers develop an understanding of how rigorous ethical and legal standards — based on industry codes and guidelines — must be applied to everyday research. The course is authored by Adam Phillips, a research consultant and the managing director of Real Research in the U.K. Phillips was chairman of the ESOMAR professional standards and public affairs committees for 15 years, and in 2015 he won ESOMAR’s prestigious John Downham Award for outstanding achievement and excellence.

This 11th online “Principles Express” course, “Ethical and Legal Issues in Market Research,” teaches professionals how to tackle legal and ethical issues related to research techniques, such as internet surveys, ad tracking, and passive smartphone data collection, that have transformed market research. Chief among these are heightened concerns about privacy and data protection.

“While for 25 years the MRII and UGA have championed the importance of following an ethical and legal framework when working with research participants and managing research processes, this is our most in-depth examination of these topics ever,” said Jeffrey Henning, executive director of the MRII. “Newly expanded and developed to stand independently of other course material, this is an essential course for researchers of every experience level.”

Specifically, the course helps participants navigate the labyrinth of compliance by introducing them to a set of ethical principles that will help them meet the vast majority of legal requirements. It also reveals the concrete steps one must take to protect collected data, thereby ensuring the privacy of those who participate in research.

Students completing this new, self-paced online course will earn 0.8 continuing education units and a digital badge from the University of Georgia. The course is recognized by certifying bodies in the United States and Australia and offers 8 contact hours of instruction, allowing students to advance their careers and enhance their research skills — while continuing to work full time. Students gain key insights for their organization, including learning about Privacy by Design, a toolkit for helping organizations and individuals test their market research processes and project designs to minimize risks to participating individuals’ privacy and well-being.

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