The Marketing Research Association (MRA) works to help increase the level of Respondent Cooperation in the research industry. This is accomplished by helping both researchers and client companies better understand the needs of today's respondent. We know that there is an industry-wide problem with declining Respondent Cooperation that has been confirmed in various studies, including MRA's 2007 Research Profession Image Study. Therefore, MRA has developed these recommendations for suggested actions to preserve our vital respondent resource. As new facts are uncovered from current research, these recommendations will be updated.
Respondents are the lifeblood of the opinion and marketing research industry. They should be respected, valued, and protected. The researcher's interactions with respondents should be characterized by honesty and integrity. The researchers' ultimate objective is to ensure that with every contact:
- Respondents will participate in surveys willingly
- Respondents are informed about the survey's intentions
- Respondents will be satisfied with the survey experience
- Respondents will be willing to participate again
In order to fulfill this objective, the researcher may apply any or all of the following suggested actions whenever possible and appropriate:
- All interviewers, before conducting an interview, should complete a training regimen.
- The respondent should be assured of their confidentiality in the introduction.
- When asked, the interviewer should disclose the length of the survey to the respondent.
- The sponsor of the interview should be disclosed in the introduction to the respondent when it won't bias the outcome of the survey.
- The length of the interview should be kept as short as necessary to answer the research question(s).
- It is ethical and legal to offer a respondent an incentive to participate in research surveys, unless prohibited by state and federal laws.
- When requested, the interviewer should offer the respondent a more convenient time or place to conduct the interview.
- Once an interview is completed, the respondent should always be thanked for their time and cooperation at the end of the survey