MRS launches new guidance for face-to-face data collection

MRS (Market Research Society) has launched new guidance for face-to-face data collection during the Covid-19 pandemic ahead of halls, viewing facilities and venues reopening on Saturday 4 July.

The new advice supplements that provided by official Government sources and details specific considerations and best practice for research businesses.  Among others, it includes guidelines for preparing facilities, cleaning, ventilation and public areas and how to communicate safety measures and controls to clients, participants and staff.

The announcement comes alongside the news that MRS has, after lengthy discussions with BEIS, received clarification on face-to-face interviewing and the over 70s.  The Government has confirmed that market and social research undertaken both with and by people over 70 years old can now go ahead, provided appropriate risk mitigation steps are undertaken.  This will ensure not only that a key sector of society has its voiced listened to and understood, but also that the significant number of skilled and experienced interviewers who are over 70 can continue to earn a living.

Jane Frost CBE, CEO of MRS, comments: “The reopening of viewing facilities and other venues is a welcome development, particularly for those businesses that have been unable to provide any services since the start of lockdown in March.  Face-to-face research is a crucial part of our sector and the insight it yields will be essential in helping our economy recover and understanding the impact of the crisis on current business and society to build for the future. 

“As we move into this next stage in lifting lockdown, it is critical that research practitioners continue to prioritise the safety of their participants, staff, contractors and clients, so that they can grow and retain public confidence in the work they do.  Given the fast pace of change, we will be continually reviewing the official Government advice and updating these guidelines as needed.”

Bob Qureshi, managing director of i-View, comments: “We feel very fortunate that our facilities will be able to open up from 4 July with full government regulations in place.  The work of MRS in liaising with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) over the resumption of face to face research has been vital.  We’re delighted to have had MRS’ full and unwavering support.

“For the reopening of facilities across the country, we have created a Viewing Facilities Action Group, an important measure to ensure the proper safety precautions are taken throughout this time.  We look forward to getting back to work and carrying out the essential market and social research that will play a major part in the UK's economic recovery.”

The MRS Covid-19 guidance is designed to complement the MRS Code of Conduct and does not take precedence over national law.  Members and Company Partners responsible for international projects should take its provisions as a minimum requirement while adhering to national laws and agreed standards.