Professional Standards

The Professional Standards Committee

The basis for greater trust between MRSI members, their clients, partners, and the general public

  • Strengthening professional self-regulation
  • Promoting high standards of research and ethics in marketing research:
    • Enforcement of the MRSI Code of conduct and ICC/ESOMAR code of conduct which has been endorsed by MRSI
    • Disciplinary action for members found in violation of this code

The first MRSI PSC in India was appointed on Feb 13th 2020.

Committee members:

Name Organisation Designation PSC Role
Sanjay Pal Nielsen Executive Director Chair
Bikramjit Chaudhari Datamatics Global Services Ltd Sr. Vice President Committee Member
Ravikumar Narayanan Dynata Business Development Director Committee Member
Anand Roy Chowdhury Bharti Airtel Ltd. Dy. General Manager Committee Member
Deepen Shah BARC India Vice President Committee Member
Terms of reference for the Professional Standards Committee can be found here.

Report An Issue

  • Please check our Directory of Members to confirm that the person or company you would like to report is an MRSI member.

MRSI will not take on complaints about non-members, unless there are exceptional circumstances requiring MRSI to protect its members, the reputation of the Market Research Industry or of MRSI. In case you would like to complain about a non-member, please explain in detail why you believe it is essential that MRSI members should be protected, or how the reputation of Market Research as an industry may be damaged.

Please note that MRSI cannot take on legal issues, such as contractual disputes, non-payment, and employment issues. It is advised that such cases are dealt with legally or through other commercial means.

The MRSI will not take on complaints that are submitted more than 12 months from the date of dispute.

  • MRSI’s Professional Standards Committee will decide the appropriateness of taking up the complaint and will ask the complainant for their response. This may be sufficient to solve the complaint. In other cases, the MRSI Professional Standards Committee (PSC) examines the complaints lodged to determine if the MRSI Code was violated.
  • The Disciplinary Actions to be taken will be decided by the PSC. These actions include MRSI's termination of membership and publication of the disciplinary action imposed on the member. In determining the appropriate action, the PSC will consider the severity of the issue as well as the frequency, if relevant, of issue raised by the complainee.
  • As such a disciplinary action can seriously damage the reputation of a company or individual, please send fully documented evidence supporting your complaint.
  • All information relating to a complaint that you send to MRSI will be considered confidential and will only be shared with the other party and the PSC.

To report an issue or complaint, please share all the details through the form below.

Please include your details, the details of your complaint and who you are complaining about.

Please attach any evidence you may have (any correspondence, research proposals, etc.) in pdf format. Please specify which section of the MRSI Code you believe was breached. This all helps us to efficiently handle complaints, ensuring that your complaint gets resolved as soon as possible.

Complainant Details

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Individual or company Details against who you are Lodging a complaint

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BACKGROUND AND DETAILS OF YOUR COMPLAINT

Please describe in details the issue causing you to lodge a complaint
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Which section of the MRSI or ICC/ESOMAR Codes you believe has been breached?
  • All statements made to secure survey participation must be factually correct and honoured.
  • Anonymity of the respondent – respondents remain entirely anonymous, including during data quality and checking where special care is taken of information that could be used to identify respondents.
    Exceptions to the above:
    1. Where explicit consent has been obtained from the respondent to disclose their identity to an identified client along with the general purpose for which their names would be disclosed.
  • Respondent must be only re-contacted for quality check or if their consent has been taken for further interviews
  • When the respondent is providing information in their role as an employee, officer or owner of an organisation – the respondent must be told the extent the name of the organisation will be reported, and prior permission must be obtained.
  • All reasonable precautions must be taken so that the respondent is not adversely affected or embarrassed as the result of participation in the study.
  • Respondent can at any time withdraw from the research interview.
  • The Respondent must be informed in advance if any observation or recording is being made. However, when the observation or recording takes place in a public place such as a shop or in the street, respondents must be told immediately after, and their consent obtained. In all cases, no substantial infringement of the privacy and anonymity of the individual must be ensured.
  • If the research design requires a selling or simulated selling situation, any money transacted by the respondent should returned or reimbursed.
  • If observers other than the researcher are present, it is researcher’s responsibility to ensure that these observers are aware of the relevant codes and agree to abide by it
  • Name and contact of the researcher should be made available to the respondent

When interviewing children under 12, prior permission from guardian/parent must be obtained after providing them with sufficient detail about the interview process and content

Permission is not required for interviewing children aged 12 to 15 but the researcher needs to take special care in testing a product or discussing sensitive topics.

  • No activity shall be deliberately or inadvertently misrepresented as Marketing Research. Specifically activities including personal information gathering for legal or other purposes, creating lists for non-research purposes, espionage, credit-rating and debt collection must not be associated with Marketing Research interviewing or activities.
  • Researchers must not misrepresent themselves as having any qualifications, skills or access to facilities which they do not in fact possess.
  • Unjustified criticism and disparagement of competitors is not permitted.
  • The conclusions of a given research that are inconsistent with the data must not be knowingly disseminated.

This Code does not aim to limit the freedom of a Client and Researcher to make whatever contract or agreement they wish between themselves. However, any such contract/agreement must not depart from the requirements of this Code except with regards to ownership of Marketing Research records (Article 18-24 inclusive), Exclusivity (Article 31) and Reporting documents (Article 33). These are the only articles which may be modified by agreement between Client and Researcher.

  • Marketing Research proposals and quotations provided by a Researcher at the request of the Client and without an agreed payment remain the property of the Researcher submitting them. In particular, prospective Clients cannot communicate the proposals of one Researcher to another Researcher except where the latter is acting directly as a consultant to the Client on the project concerned; nor shall the Client use the proposals or quotations of one Researcher to influence the proposals of another Researcher. Similarly, the Marketing Research brief and specifications provided by a Client remain the property of the Client.
  • The research findings and data from a Marketing Research project are the property of the Client. Unless the prior written consent of the Client has been obtained, these cannot be disclosed by the Researcher to any third party.
  • The research technique and methods used in a Marketing Research project do not become the property of the Client.
  • All records prepared by the Researcher, other than the report, are the property of the Researcher, who will be entitled to destroy records without reference to the Client after the periods specified in the guidelines below:
    1. questionnaires must be retained for three months after the submission of the report or presentation text.
    2. Data must be preserved for two years after the submission of the report or presentation text; the client shall have access to the data for additional analysis at a mutually agreed cost.
    3. qualitative research video/audio tapes/transcripts must be retained for two months after the submission of the report or presentation text data of continuous surveys must be retained for two years after the survey period.
    4. In case of Syndicated surveys, the above time periods may be different and will be specified by the Researcher.
  • The Client shall be entitled to obtain from the Researcher duplicate copies of completed questionnaires or other records, after the Researcher has submitted his report as specified, provided that the Client shall bear the reasonable cost of preparing such duplicates, and that the request is made within the time limit set by Article 21.
The above will not apply in the case of clearly communicated syndicated or subscription-based reports.
  • Unless authorised to do by the Client, the Researcher must not reveal the name of the Client commissioning the study to Respondents nor to any other person not directly concerned with the work of the study.
  • All confidential information and material relating to the Client must not be divulged except to persons wholly or substantially engaged in the service of the Researcher, including subcontractors, who need such information or material in order to effectively carry out the research work.
    The Researcher shall clearly indicate to the Client what parts of a project will be handled by subcontractors and, if the Client requires, the identity of these subcontractors.
  • The Client, or his mutually acceptable representative, may request to attend a limited number of interviews to observe the standards of the fieldwork. In certain types of research (e.g. panels) this may require the previous agreement of the respondent to the presence of such an observer. The Researcher is entitled to be recompensed if the Client's desire to attend an interview interferes with, delays or increases the cost of the fieldwork. In the case of a multi-client study, the Researcher may require that the observer in charge of checking the quality of the field work is independent of any of the Clients.
  • When two or more projects are combined in one interview, or one project is carried out on behalf of more than one Client, or a service is offered on the basis that it is also available on subscription to other potential Clients, each client concerned must be informed in advance that the project or service is not being offered on an exclusive basis. The identity of the other Clients or potential Clients need not be disclosed.
  • The client must not give any of the results of the multi-client study to any person outside his own organisation (with the exception of consultants and advisers to the client organisation) unless he has first obtained the Researcher's permission to do so.
  • Reports and other records relevant to be Marketing research project and provided by the Researcher is expected to be used solely by the Client and his consultants or advisers. The contract between Researcher and Client should normally specify the copyright of the research findings and any arrangements with respect to the subsequent more general publication of these findings. In the absence of such a specific agreement, if the Client intends any wider circulation of the results of a study:
    1. The Client must agree in advance with the Researcher the exact form and content of publication or circulation. If agreement on this cannot be reached between Client and Researcher, the latter is entitled to refuse permission for his name to be quoted in connection with the study.
    2. Where the results of a Marketing Research project are given any such wider circulation, the Client must at the same time make available the information listed under Article 34 re. Background, Data Collection, etc. about the published part of the study. The Researcher himself is entitled to supply this information to anyone receiving the above-mentioned result, in case not done so by the Client.
    3. The Client shall do his utmost to avoid the possibility of misinterpretation or the quotation of the results out of their proper context.
  • Researchers must not allow their names to be used as an assurance that a particular Marketing Research project has been carried out in conformity with this Code unless they are fully satisfied that the project has in every respect been controlled according to the Code's requirements.
In the absence of any contractual agreement to the contrary, the Client does not have the right to exclusive use of the Researcher's services.
  • The Researcher must make a clear distinction between the results themselves and the Researcher's interpretation of the data and his recommendations at time of presenting the results.
  • Reports of a Marketing Research project must adequately explain Background, Sample, Data Collection and Presentation of Results (as detailed in Article 34).
    1. The only exception is where it is agreed in advance between the Client and the Researcher that it is unnecessary to include all the listed information in the formal report or other document. Any such agreement in no way removes the entitlement of the Client to receive any and all of the information freely upon request.
    2. This exception does not apply where part or all of the research report is to be published or made available to recipients in addition to the original Clients.
  • When public opinion poll findings are published in print media these must always be accompanied by a clear statement of:
    1. The name of the Client/sponsor of the research
    2. The name of the research organisation carrying out the survey
    3. Who was interviewed and who was excluded by design (e.g. non-internet users for online surveys)
    4. The achieved sample size and its geographical coverage
    5. The date of fieldwork
    6. The sampling methods used, and in the case of random samples, the success rate achieved
    7. The methods by which the information was collected such as personal or telephone interview, online, self-completion
    8. Whether the data was weighted, and parameters used for weighting
    9. Actual sample size for each segment for which the results have been broken out
    10. The margin of error in the estimate at the total sample level as well as at the level of reported breaks
    11. Results include the % of respondents saying, "Don't Know" and in case of voting intention surveys also the % of respondents saying they will not vote
    12. The actual wording of the questions asked, unless this is a standard question already familiar to the audience or it is given in a previously published report to which reference is made.
  • For broadcast media, or when there is a space crunch in print media, it may not be possible always to give information on all these points. As a minimum, the following points should be covered in reference to findings of a public opinion poll:
    1. The name of the sponsor of the research (client)
    2. The name of the research organisation carrying out the survey;
    3. Who was interviewed and who was excluded by design (e.g. non-internet users for online surveys)
    4. Excluded by design (e.g. non-internet users for online surveys)
    5. The achieved sample size and its geographical coverage
    6. Date of fieldwork
    7. The methods by which the information was collected such as personal or telephone interview, online, self-completion
    8. Whether the data was weighted, and parameters used for weighting
    9. Actual sample size for each segment for which the results have been broken out.
    10. In addition, an internet link should be provided with all the details about the survey (Articles 35 to 42) to ensure that readers/viewers/listeners can get more details to form an informed opinion about the findings published.
  • The percentages of respondents who give 'don't know' answers (and in the case of voting-intention studies, of those who say they will not vote) must always be given where they are likely to significantly affect the interpretation of the findings. When comparing the findings from different surveys, any changes (other than minor ones) in these percentages must be indicated.
  • In the case of voting-intention surveys it must always be made clear if voting intention percentages quoted include any of those respondents who answered 'don't know' or 'may not / will not vote' in reply to the voting questions asked.
  • In case of requests for any other information about the survey methods (detailed in Article 34), additional to what is given in the published report - the publisher and/or the research organisation involved must respond with the relevant details on survey methods. Where the questions reported on are part of a more extensive or 'omnibus' survey, this must be made clear to any enquirer.
  • The research organisation and the client each have a responsibility in the public interest to ensure that the published report on a public opinion poll does not misrepresent or distort the survey data. For example, misleading comments based on non-significant differences must be avoided. Special care must be taken to ensure that any graphs or charts used do not convey a misleading impression of the current survey's results or of trends over time. It is also important that the reader or listener should be able to clearly distinguish between the survey findings as such and any editorial or other comments based upon them. Particularly in the case of print reports, the research organisation must, wherever feasible, approve in advance the exact form and content of publication (as required in Article 29(a) of the MRSI Code).
  • The research organisation cannot normally be held responsible for any subsequent use made of public opinion poll results by people other than the original client. It should however be ready to issue immediately such comments or information as may be necessary to correct any cases of misreporting or misuse of results when these are brought to its attention.
  • In the event that a client releases data from a survey which was not originally intended for publication, this Code of Conduct will apply to it as if it had originally been commissioned for publication.

When using secondary data that includes personal data researchers must ensure that:

The intended use is compatible with the purpose for which the data was originally collected.
  • The data was not collected in violation of restrictions imposed by law, through deception, or in ways that were not apparent to or reasonably discernible and anticipated by the data subject.
  • The intended use was not specifically excluded in the privacy notice provided at the time of original collection.
  • Any requests from individual Respondents that their data not be used for other purposes are honoured.
  • Use of the data will not result in harm to Respondents and there are measures in place to guard against such harm.
If researchers plan to collect personal data for research that may also be used for a non-research purpose, this must be made clear to Respondents prior to data collection and their consent for the non-research use obtained.
  • Researchers must not share a Respondent’s personal data with a client unless the Respondent has given consent to do so and has agreed to the specific purpose for which it will be used.
  • Researchers must have a privacy notice that is readily accessible by Respondents and is easily understood.
  • Researchers must ensure that personal data cannot be traced, nor an individual’s identity inferred via deductive disclosure (for example, through cross-analysis, small samples or combination with other data such as a client’s records or secondary data in the public domain).
  • Researchers must take all reasonable precautions to ensure that personal data is held securely. It must be protected against risks such as loss, unauthorised access, destruction, misuse, manipulation or disclosure.
  • Personal data is to be held no longer than is necessary for the purpose for which it was collected or used.
  • If personal data is to be transferred to subcontractors or other service providers, researchers must ensure that the recipients employ at least an equivalent level of security measures.
  • Researchers must take particular care to maintain the data protection rights of Respondents whose personal data is transferred from one jurisdiction to another. Such transfers must not be made without the consent of the Respondent or other legally permissible grounds. In addition, researchers must take all reasonable steps to ensure that adequate security measures are observed and that the data protection principles of this Code are complied with.
  • In the event of a data breach containing personal data researchers have a duty of care for the Respondents involved and must follow all applicable data breach notification laws.
  • Any person or organisation involved in, or association with, a Marketing Research project and/or proposal is responsible for actively applying the rules of this Code in the spirit as well as the letter.
  • Any alleged infringement of the Code shall be reported without delay to the President of the MRSI or to the Convener of The Professional Standards Committee of the MRSI.

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