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In a historic demonstration of industry collaboration, the Advertising Research Foundation (ARF) through the efforts of the Online Research Quality Council (ORQC) has brought Procter & Gamble, Coca-Cola, Kraft, Microsoft, Bayer, Capital One, General Motors, and ESPN together with leading research companies and industry associations to launch the largest research-on-research project to date, called the “Foundations of Quality.” This massive project involves 17 sample providers who account for around 80% of all online research conducted in the USA and has the support of many vendors who are providing pro bono or at cost services. In addition, the project has secured substantial financial commitments from a powerful set of buyers and suppliers.
The research project, which recently fielded its first wave, will yield findings that no single client or supplier could obtain on their own. Moreover, the results will equip the industry with fact-based knowledge to make key decisions about how to improve or enhance research quality. There is strong agreement and alignment within the Council that the learnings from this research will result in a long-term and ongoing collaboration between buyers and suppliers, facilitated by the Advertising Research Foundation.
Enthusiastically led by Dr. Tom Evans, VP Audio & Special Projects, ESPN; Efrain Ribiero, COO Ipsos Interactive Services; and Renee Smith, VP Panel Quality at Harris Interactive, the “Foundations of Quality” project has prestigious industry backing at a time when proving the value of research is of critical importance to research companies.
Kim Dedeker of Procter & Gamble and Co-Chair of the ORQC has emphasized that, “If we don’t improve research quality, we lose credibility about what our primary accountability is within our respective companies – providing actionable insights that drive business growth,” a sentiment echoed by Robert I. Tomei from Information Resources (Founder and co-Chair of the Council): “We need to be able to first establish the facts around online research quality in order to fully implement appropriate processes to address key challenges and opportunities that exist in the industry that results in the delivery of high quality research that our clients can rely on to make their business decisions.”
The project stems from the ARF’s Online Research Quality Council (ORQC) and was designed by a client-driven cross-industry committee. One of the project leaders, Dr. Tom Evans of ESPN, sums up the importance of the study: “As more and more research involves online panels, nothing is more important than a study like the ‘Foundations of Quality’ to address the issues related to taking surveys on the Internet. The study will help clients gain a better understanding of the impact of these issues on the reliability of the survey results and confidence as they use these results to make business decisions.”
Results from the extensive online, telephone and mail surveys will be released in the first quarter of 2009, along with guidelines for the future of research that will positively impact the entire industry. The suppliers involved in the study include: Authentic Response, e-Rewards, GfK Custom Research, GMI, Greenfield Online/Ciao, Harris interactive, Ipsos, Lightspeed, Luth Research, MarketTools, mypoints.com, NPD, Nielsen BASES (Pinecone), Survey Sampling International, Synovate, TNS, and Toluna/Common Knowledge. Vendor services participants are: Peanut Labs, OTX, Sigma Validation, and Decipher.For more information about the project, the Online Research Quality Council and the Advertising Research Foundation visit www.thearf.org.”
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