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ESOMAR and GRBN publish global guidance on fair use of data

MEDIA RELEASE: September 13 2021: ESOMAR and the Global Research Business Network (GRBN) are pleased to announce today the release of two new complementary guidelines that further strengthen ethical standard framework to be used by their respective memberships; Primary Data Collection and Duty of Care.

These practical documents provide essential support to research, insight and data analytics practitioners and the organisations that work with them to best navigate important issues they encounter in their daily lives. The new guidance aims to better future proof ethical and professional practice at a time when the collection and use of data continues to accelerate, facilitated by new technologies. The guidance reinforces the importance of maintaining trust with participants and support practitioners to comply with existing and emerging legislation.

The Primary Data Collection guideline guides practitioners and organisations when they collect data directly from or about a data subject for the purpose of their data, research and insights projects. The Duty of Care guidance reminds practitioners and organisations of their responsibilities to the privacy and well-being of their data subjects and outlines the key expectations taking into account established ethical and legal requirements.

Finn Raben, Director General of ESOMAR said: “It is high time to refresh our commitments and ensure our standards keep up with an ecosystem where data science is mainstreaming and leading to a dramatic increase in the volume of personal data, much of it behavioural, being collected. The recognition of the potential value to societies and economies is only possible when responsible and ethical use of personal data occurs. In this
context, these two documents are vital to industry progress in recognising our clear duty of care to those whose personal data we use in our projects.”

Andrew Cannon, Executive Director at GRBN comments: “Trust is a fundamental to the future of our industry; trust by the general public, by clients and by regulators. Researchers’ ethical behaviour, especially with regard to privacy and the use of personal data, is central to maintaining and building this trust, and these two guidelines provide researchers with the essential guidance they need.”

Primary Data Collection describes the ethical responsibilities of researchers, regardless of the type of organisation in which they work, when engaged in primary data collection, that is, when collecting data from or about a data subject for the purpose of research. It includes quantitative and qualitative methods that involve direct questioning of data subjects, but also methods of passive data collection in which the researcher observes, measures or records an individual’s actions or behaviour.

Access the Primary Data Collection guidelines here.

Duty of Care aims to advise researchers and those who do research on behalf of clients about their responsibility to protect the privacy and well-being of data subjects who participate in research or whose data is processed for a research purpose. It is also designed to provide guidance for those who commission research to ensure that they are fully aware of their responsibilities and to set expectations about what is and is not possible given established ethical and legal requirements.

Access the Duty of Care guidelines here

There will be a panel session at the Insights festival to take place 21-22 September 2021 which discusses these guidelines and their usage. To book a place at this session register to attend at the ESOMAR Insights Festival 2021

Websites: ESOMAR and GRBN


PLEASE NOTE: This guidance supplements the guidelines and advice provided by the Research Society for Australian conditions. Members can access the suite of GRBN and ESOMAR guidelines on the Society website.

About The Research Society 1081 Articles
The Research Society is the peak body for research, insights and analytics professionals in Australia. It has a diverse membership of individuals at all levels of experience and seniority within agencies, consultancies, client-side organisations, the non-profit and government sectors, support services as well as institutions and the academic community. As well as over 2,000 individual members, the Research Society has 125+ company and client partners, with the number continuing to grow. The Research Society research professionals and company partners commit to and are regulated by the Research Society Code of Professional Behaviour.