Quality standards in international research

Date of publication: June 15, 1993

Author: Carol Coutts


The achievement of acceptable and consistent quality standards in international research is a vital topic which deserves wider debate. At present it is difficult for international research buyers and co-ordinators to know what standards and practices are being used across countries - and difficult to decide what standards should or could be set. In order to provide a review of the quality standards and practices currently in place, the author conducted a small-scale survey of research suppliers in November 1992. The sample consisted of 87 suppliers, the majority of whom were ESOMAR members. A good range of regions was represented world-wide, though with bias towards the Western European countries. The survey covered the main areas where quality standards might need to be applied, namely: qualitative recruitment, interviewing and analysis, quantitative fieldwork, questionnaire editing, back- checking, data-entry and record-keeping. The survey revealed considerable variation in practices and in standards maintained. Some suppliers applied very stringent controls and had clear policies for actions to be taken in the event of unsatisfacton or poor quality work. Other suppliers appeared to apply very low standards or in certain areas had no quality standards at all.

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