Sep 5 2017


The new guideline highlights best practices for conducting mobile research

Today ESOMAR and GRBN launch their joint Guideline for Mobile Research for the market, opinion and social research and data analytics sector. This new Guideline aligns global policies with developing regulations and technology and the latest international developments for best practice in this area. Mobile research is a growing market that currently accounts for $1.8bn global annual turnover and is widely used in advanced as well as developing economies.

Mobile research is a rapidly evolving field which ranges from calling or texting respondents to ask them questions, to participants videoing how they perform daily tasks such as cooking and more recently, to collecting data generated by mobile devices such as geo-location data, all to provide researchers with richer insights about attitudes and behaviour. ESOMAR and GRBN therefore decided to update guideline that was issued by ESOMAR in cooperation with MMRA in 2012, and the separate GRBN guideline which was based upon guidance developed by the national associations from the UK, US and Australia. This new guideline is designed to help researchers address legal, ethical and practical considerations in using new technologies when conducting mobile research.

The text has been drafted by a team of international experts to ensure that it incorporates the latest practices of mobile research, so that the new Guideline takes into account the continuing innovation in technology that has created information sources that are relevant to research. These include:

  •   Passive data collection including biometric data, photos and recordings and instore tracking
  •   Mystery shopping through camera and video
  •   Data that may have been collected for a non-research purpose which is used in research including geolocation data from mobile providers, or usage data from app providers

The Guideline recognises that a range of third parties can be involved as subcontractors in data collection, preparation, analysis, storage and delivery. It also takes into account emerging data privacy regulations and the need to treat phone users with due respect and consideration.

Finn Raben, Director General of ESOMAR said:

“With the omnipresence of smartphones and other mobile technologies, it is of utmost importance that the our sector is effectively expressing our traditional values of respect for individuals and scientific integrity in new and emerging mobile research methods. In this Guideline, ESOMAR and GRBN have tried to do exactly that, although we also recognise that this is not likely to be the last you will hear from us on this important topic”

Andrew Cannon, Executive Director of the Global Research Business Network, added:

“The use of mobile research methods will continue to grow, and we are delighted that we have improved guidance for practitioners by successfully reconciled two existing mobile research guidelines into the one authoritative document. We expect that this update will be one of many as the legal and ethical parameters of mobile research continue to evolve”.

A copy of the new Guideline is here