The consumer and the policy-maker

Date of publication: June 15, 1982


The first study discussed was undertaken by Consumers' Association (CA) on behalf of the Environment and Consumer Protection Service of the EEC. This was essentially a small-scale methodological exercise, CA's brief being to recommend to the EEC a survey design which could generate data on consumers' concerns and complaints which would have a validity both within and between EEC countries. The second study was carried out by Research Services Ltd. (RSL) for the National Consumer Council (NCC). It was a large-scale personal interview study undertaken with the aim of assessing consumers' perceptions of the experiences and problems they face in their day-to-day lives and of exploring the importance attached to them. The detailed and largely precoded questionnaire carried an extensive range of potential problem areas including, for example, housing, transport, education and shopping. The paper compares and contrasts the two studies and prefaces this methodological assessment with a note on the problems associated with assessing 'satisfaction'. Brief results from both studies are presented, and the paper concludes with a consideration of possible future research and of the precision needed in defining study aims before a research design can be finalised.

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