Purpose of The TMRS code of conduct

This first edition of the TMRS code of conduct has been agreed by the Thailand Marketing Research Society General Committee, on behalf of the members, to become operative from March 1, 2000. The Thai code has been based extensively on the code of conduct of The Market Research Society of Great Britain and developed by them over a period of 50 years. In drafting the TMRS code we have cherry-picked those aspects of the British code which we believe relevant to Thailand, and added points specific to our own situation. It is expected that the code and various guidelines for research techniques, will be developed, revised, amended as our experience as a Society grows, and as the environmental conditions for conducting research change. The code of conduct is designed to support those members engaged in market and/or social research in maintaining professional standards, for the long term well-being via self-regulation, of our profession. The code applies to all members of TMRS, whether they work in consumer, business to business, social, opinion, or other types of confidential survey research. It applies to all quantitative and qualitative methods of data collection. It is to be noted also that the TMRS is primarily a society of individuals. Where the code refers to organizations or companies it is incumbent on individual members in these organizations to ensure, as well as they are able, that the organization fulfills the relevant parts of the code. Legal Note: The code of conduct does not take precedence over national law. It does seek to provide assurance that research is conducted in an ethical manner, to create confidence in, and encourage cooperation from, the business community, general public, legislators, and others. As such, disciplinary action in relation to TMRS membership status can and may be taken against proven violators of the code.

The Spirit of the Code

Marketing and social research are founded on the willing co-operation of the general public and of business and governmental organizations. Research depends upon their confidence in it being conducted honestly, objectively, without unwelcome intrusions, and without harm to respondents. Its purpose is to collect and analyze information, and not directly to create sales, nor to influence the opinions of anyone participating in it. It is in this spirit that the Code of Conduct has been devised. The public and other interested parties are entitled to assurance that research projects are carried out in strict accordance with this Code, and that their rights of privacy are respected. Wherever possible respondents must be told the purpose of the research and the likely length of time needed for information collection.

RULES

A Conditions of TMRS Membership and Membership Responsibilities.
A1 Membership of TMRS is granted to individuals who are believed, on the basis of information provided by them, to have the qualifications required by the Society, and who undertake to accept the Society's Code of Conduct. Membership may be withdrawn if this information or undertaking are found to be untrue.

Members shall:

A2 ….at all times act honestly in dealings with respondents, clients (actual and potential), employers, employees, and sub-contractors.
A3 ….ensure that the people they work with (including clients, colleagues and sub- contractors), are familiar with this Code to the extent that they are unlikely to break the rules because of ignorance.
A4 ….when working in client organizations (research buyers/users), recognize that unless paid for by the client, a specification for a project drawn up by one research agency is the property of that agency and may not be passed on to another agency without the permission of the originating agency.
A5 ….when working in research agencies/as a research supplier recognize that work paid for by a client (proposals, questionnaires, report etc.) is the confidential property of that client and may not be passed on in any form to a third party without the permission of the owner (in syndicated and omnibus research this extends to all contributing owners).

Members shall not:

A6 ….disclose to any other person, company or organization any information acquired in confidence during the course of his/her work on the business of a client without the permission of that client.
A7 ….imply in any statement that they are speaking on behalf of the TMRS, unless they have the written authority of the TMRS, General Committee.
A8 ….knowingly take advantage of the unpublished work a fellow member without that person's permission. Specifically members shall not carry out or commission work based on proposals or recommendations prepared by another member or organization unless permission has been granted by that organization or member.

Protecting the Integrity & Credibility of “Confidential Survey Research”

A9 If any of the following activities are involved in, or form part of, a “research” project, then the project must not be described or presented as (a) “confidential research/survey/study”a) Enquires with objectives that include obtaining personal details about private individuals person, whether for legal, political, employment related, private or other purposes. b) Gathering information for use in credit ratings or similar. c) Compiling, updating, or enhancing lists, registers, directories, or data bases which are not used exclusively for research (e.g. which are to be used for direct or relationship marketing). d) Industrial, commercial or other form of spying. e) Sales or promotional approaches to individual respondents. f) Collection of debts g) Fund raising h) Direct of indirect attempts, including the framing of questions, intended to influence a respondent's opinions or attitudes on any issue other than for experimental research purposes, which are identified as such in the publication/report of results.
A10 Where any such activities outlined in A.9 are conducted by a TMRS member, the member must clearly differentiate the activities by:I) not describing them as confidential survey research or any implication of this and, II) making it clear to respondents before the start of any information collection, the purpose(s) of the information collection.
A8 ….knowingly take advantage of the unpublished work a fellow member without that person's permission. Specifically members shall not carry out or commission work based on proposals or recommendations prepared by another member or organization unless permission has been granted by that organization or member.

Scope of the Code

A11 When undertaking confidential survey research based on respondent anonymity, members shall follow and abide by the ICC/ESOMAR International Code of Conduct given in section B of this Code.
A12 It is the responsibility of members to keep themselves updated on the TMRS Code as well as any changes or amendments which may be agreed and published from time to time in Society media (eg. Website or newsletter). If in doubt about interpretation of any part of this Code, members should address their queries to the TMRS General Committee.

Disciplinary Action

A13 Complaints about breaches of the Code of Conduct by a member or members of TMRS must be made in writing to the President, Thai Marketing Research Society, for consideration by the General Committee.
A14 Membership of TMRS may be withdrawn and/or other disciplinary action taken if, on investigation of a formal complaint, it is found that in the opinion of the General Committee any part of the member's research work or behavior breaches the Code.
A15 Membership may be withdrawn, or disciplinary action taken (e.g. suspension) if a member is deemed guilty or unprofessional conduct. This is defined as… - Being guilty of any act or conduct which in the opinion of TMRS general committee might discredit the market research profession, the TMRS, or its members. - Being guilty or any breach of the Code of Conduct - Failing without good reason to assist the TMRS in investigating a complaint - Being sentenced to a term of imprisonment by a court of law.
A16 No member will have his/her membership withdrawn or suspended without an opportunity of a hearing before the TMRS General Committee, for which at least one month's notice must be given.
A17 Normally the TMRS will publish the names of those who have membership withdrawn or suspended, with the reasons.
 
B ICC/ESOMAR Code of Marketing and Social Research Practice:

GENERAL

B1 Marketing research most always be carried out objectively and in accordance with established scientific principles.
B2 Marketing research must always conform to the national and international legislation which applies in those countries involved in a given research project.

THE RIGHTS OF RESPONDENTS

B3 Respondent, co-operation in a marketing research project is entirely voluntary at all stages. They must not be misled when being asked for co-operation.
B4 Respondents, anonymity must be strictly preserved. If the respondent on request from the Researcher has given permission for data to be passed on in a form which allows that respondent to be identified personally:(a) the Respondents must first have been told to whom the information would be supplied and the purposes for which it will be used, and also. (b) The Researcher must ensure that the information will not be used for any non-research purpose and that the recipient of the information has agreed to conform to the requirements of the Code.
B5 The Researcher must take all reasonable precautions to ensure that Respondents are in no way directly harmed or adversely affected as a result of their participation in a marketing research project.
B6 The Researcher must take special care when interviewing children and young people. The informed consent of the parent or responsible adult must first be obtained for interviews with children.
B7 Respondents must be told (normally at the beginning of the interview) if observation techniques or recording equipment are used, except where these are used in a public place. If a respondents so wishes, the record or relevant section of it must be destroyed or deleted. Respondent's anonymity must not be infringed by the use of such methods.
B8 Respondents must be enabled to check without difficulty and bona fides of the Researcher.

THE PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITIES OF RESEARCHERS

B9 Researchers must not, whether knowingly or negligently, act in any way which could bring discredit on the marketing research profession or lead to loss of public confidence in it.
B10 Researchers must not make false claims about their skills and experience or about those of their organization.
B11 Researchers must not unjustifiably criticize or disparage other Researchers.
B12 Researchers must always strive to design research which is cost-efficient and of adequate quality, and then to carry this out to the specification agreed with the Client.
B13 Researchers must ensure the security of all research records in their possession.
B14 Researchers must not knowingly allow the dissemination of conclusions from a marketing research project which are not adequately supported by the data. They must always be prepared to make available the technical information necessary to assess the validity of any published findings.
B15 When acting in their capacity as Researchers the latter must not undertake any non-research activities, for example database marketing involving data about individuals which will be used for direct marketing and promotional activities. Any such non-research activities must always, in the way they are organized and carried out, be clearly differentiated from marketing research activities.

MUTUAL RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF RESEARCHERS AND CLIENTS

B16 These rights and responsibilities will normally be governed by a written Contract between the Researcher and the Client. The parties may amend the provisions of rules B16-B23 below if they have agreed this in writing beforehand; but the other requirements of this Code may not be altered in this way. Marketing research must also always be conducted according to the principles of fair competition, as generally understood and accepted.
B17 The Researcher must inform the Client if the work to be carried out for that Client is to be combined or syndicated in the same project with work for other Clients but must not disclose the identity of such clients without their permission.
B18 The Researcher must inform the Client as soon as possible in advance when any part of the work for the Client is to be subcontracted outside the Researcher's own organization (including the use of any outside consultants). On request the Client must be told the identity of any such subcontractor.
B19 The Client does not have the right, without prior agreement between the parties involved, to exclusive use of the Researcher's services or those of this organization, whether in whole or in part. In carrying out work for different clients, however, the Researcher must endeavor to avoid possible clashes of interest between the services provided to those clients.
B20 The following Records remain the property of the Client and must not be disclosed by the Researcher to any third party without the Client's permission: (a) marketing research briefs, specifications and other information provided by the Client; (b) the research data and findings from a marketing research project (except in the case of syndicated or multi-client projects or services where the same data are available to more than one client). The Client has, however, no right to know the names or addresses of Respondents unless the latter's explicit permission for this has first been obtained by the Researcher (this particular requirement cannot be altered under Rule B16).
B21 Unless it is specifically agreed to the contrary, the following Records remain the property of the Research:(a) marketing research proposals and cost quotations (unless these have been paid for by the Client). They must not be disclosed by the Client to any third party, other than to a consultant working for the Client on that project (with the exception of any consultant working also for a competitor of the Researcher). In particular, they must not be used by the Client to influence research proposals or cost quotations from other Researchers.(b) the contents of a report in the case of syndicated research and/or multi client projects or services where the same data are available to more than one client and where it is clearly understood that the resulting reports are available for general purchase or subscription. The Client may not disclose the findings of such research to any third party (other than his own consultants and advisors for use in connection with his business) without the permission of the Researcher.(c) all other research Records prepared by the Researcher (with the exception in the case of non-syndicated projects of the report to the Client, and also the research design and questionnaire where the costs of developing these are covered by the charges paid by the Client).
B22 The Researcher must conform to current agreed professional practice relating to the keeping of such records for an appropriate period of time after the end of the project. On request the Researcher must supply the Client with duplicate copies of such records provided that such duplicates do not breach anonymity and confidentiality requirements (Rule B4); that the request is made within the agreed time limit for keeping the Records; and that the Client pays the reasonable costs of providing the duplicates.
B23 The Researcher must not disclose the identity of the Client (provided there is no legal obligation to do so) or any confidential information about the latter]s business, to any third party without the Client's permission.
B24 The Researcher must, on request, allow the Client to arrange for checks on the quality of fieldwork and data preparation provided that the Client pays any additional costs involved in this. Any such checks must conform to the requirements of Rule B4.
B25 The Researcher must provide the Client with all appropriate technical details of any research project carried out for the Client.
B26 When reporting on the results of the marketing research project the Researcher must make a clear distinction between the findings as such, the Researcher's interpretation of these and any recommendations based on them.
B27 Where any of the findings of a research project and published by the Client, the latter has a responsibility to ensure that these are not misleading. The Researcher must be consulted and agree in advance the form and content of publication, and must take action to correct any misleading statements about the research and its finding.
B28 Researchers must not allow their names to be used in connection with any research project as an assurance that the latter has been carried out in conformity that the project has in all respects met the Code's requirements.
B29 Researchers must ensure that Clients are aware of the existence of this Code and of the need to comply with its requirements.

NOTES

How the ICC/ESOMAR International Code of Marketing and Social Research Practice Should be Applied

There general notes published by ICC/ESOMAR apply to the interpretation of Section B of the TMRS Code, in the absence of any more specific interpretation which may appear in Section A TMRS members who are also members of ESOMAR will in addition be subject to the requirements of the guidelines published by ESOMAR. These Notes are intended to help users of the code to interpret and apply it in practice. The Notes, and the Guidelines referred to in them, will be reviewed and reissued from time to time. Any query or problem about how to apply the code in a specific situation should be addressed to the TMRS General Committee.

THE RIGHTS OF RESPONDENTS

All Respondents are entitled to be sure that when they agree to co-operate in any marketing research project they are fully protected by the provisions of this Code and that the Researcher will conform to its requirements. This applies equally to Respondents interviewed as private individuals and to those interviewed as representatives of organizations of different kinds.
B3 Researchers and those working on their behalf (e.g. interviewers) must not, in order to secure Respondents' co-operation, make statements or promises which are knowingly misleading or incorrect-for example, about the likely length of the interview or about the possibilities of being re-interviewed on a later occasion. Any such statements and assurances given to Respondents must be fully honoured.Respondents are entitled to withdraw from an interview at any stage and to refuse to co-operate further in the research project. Any or all of the information collected from or about them must be destroyed without delay if Respondents so request.
B4 All indications of the identity of Respondents should be physically separated from the records of the information they have provided as soon as possible after the completion of any necessary fieldwork quality checks. The Researcher must ensure that any information which might identify Respondents is stored securely, and separately from the other information they have provided; and that access to such material is restricted to authorized research personal within the Researcher's own organization for specific research purposes (e.g. field administration, data processing, panel or ‘longitudinal' studies or other forms of research involving recall interviews).To preserve Respondents' anonymity not only their names and addresses but also any other information provided by or about them which could in practice identify them (e.g. their Company and job title) must be safeguarded. These anonymity requirements may be relaxed only under the following safeguards:(a) where the Respondent has given explicit permission for this under the conditions of ‘informed consent' summarized in Rule 4 (a) and (b).(b) where disclosure of names to a third party (e.g. a subcontractor) is essential for any research purpose such as data processing or further interview (e.g. an independent fieldwork quality check) or for further follow-up research. The original Researcher is responsible for ensuring that any such third party agrees to observe the requirements of this Code-in writing, if the third party has not already formally subscribed to the Code. It must be noted that even these limited relaxations may not be permissible in certain countries. The definition of ‘non-research activity', referred to in Rule 4(b), is dealt with in connection with Rule 15. The particular issues which arise in the case of customer satisfaction surveys and ‘Mystery Shopping' will be addressed in ESOMAR Guidelines on these subjects. These are currently under discussion.
B5 The Researcher must explicitly agree with the Client arrangements regarding the responsibilities for product safety and for dealing with any complaints or damage arising from faulty products or product misuse. Such responsibilities will normally rest with the Client, but Researcher must ensure that products are correctly stored and handled while in the Researcher's charge and the Respondents are given appropriate instructions for their use. More generally, Researchers should avoid interviewing at inappropriate or inconvenient times. They should also avoid the use of unnecessarily ling interviews; and the asking of personal questions which may worry or annoy Respondents, unless the information is essential to the purposes of the study and the reasons for needing it are explained to the Respondent.
B7 The Respondent should be told at the beginning of the interview that recording techniques are to be used unless this knowledge might bias the Respondent's subsequent behaviour: in such cases the Respondent must be told about the recording at the end of the interview and be given the opportunity to see or hear the relevant section of the record and, if they so wish, to have this destroyed. A ‘public place' is defined as one to which the public has free access and where an individual could reasonably expect to be observed and/or overheard by other people present, for example in a shop or in the street. The more general issues which arise with the use of tape and video-recording of interviews are dealt with in the ESOMAR Guideline on this subject.
B8 The name and address/telephone number of the Researcher must normally be made available to the Respondent at the time of interview. In cases where an accommodation address or ‘cover name' are used for data collection purposes arrangements must be made to enable Respondents subsequently to find without difficulty or avoidable expense the name and address of the Researcher. Wherever possible ‘Freephon' or similar facilities should be provided so that Respondents can check the Researcher's bona fides without cost to themselves.

THE PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITIES OF RESEARCHERS

This Code is not intended to restrict the rights of Researchers to undertake any legitimate marketing research activity and to operated competitively in so doing. However it is essential that in pursuing these objectives the general public's confidence in the integrity of marketing research is not undermined in any way. This Section sets out the responsibilities which the Researcher has towards the public at large and towards the marketing research profession and other members of this
B14 The kinds of technical information which should on request be made available include those listed in the Notes to Rule B25. The Researcher must not however disclose information which is confidential to the Client's business, nor need he/she disclose information relating to parts of the survey which were not publishes.
B15 The kinds of ‘non-research activity' which must not be associated in any way with the carrying out of marketing research include; enquires whose objectives are to obtain personal information about private individuals per se, whether for legal, political, supervisory (e.g. job performance), private or other purposes the acquisition of information for use for credit-rating or similar purposes the compilation updating or enhancement of lists, registers or databases which are not exclusively for research purposes (e.g. which will be used for direct marketing)
industrial, commercial or any other form of espionage sales or promotional approaches the individual Respondents the collection of debts fund-raising direct or indirect attempts, including by the design of the questionnaire, to influence a Respondents' opinions, attitudes or behaviour an any issue. Certain of these activities-in particular the collection of information for databases for subsequent use in direct marketing and similar operations-are legitimate marketing activities in their own right. Researcher (especially those working within a client company) may often be involved with such activities, either directly or indirectly. In such cases it is essential that a clear distinction is made between these activities and marketing research since by definition marketing research anonymity rules cannot be applied to them. Situations may arise where a Researcher wishes, quite legitimately, to become involved with marketing database work for direct marketing (as distinct from marketing research) purposes: such work must not be carried out under the name of marketing research or of a marketing research Organisation as such. The ESOMAR Guildline on the subject of the differences between telephone research and telemarketing is being revised to deal with these issues.

THE MUTUAL RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF RESEARCHERS AND CLIENTS

This Code is not intended to regulate the details of business relationship between Rresearchers and Clients except in so far as these may involve principles of general interest and concern. Most such matters should be regulated by the individual business Contracts. It is clearly vital that such Contracts are based on an adequate understanding and consideration of the issues involved: the ESOMAR Guidelines on ‘Selecting a Marketing Research Agency' and on ‘Reaching Agreement on a Marketing Research Project' address these issues.
B18 Although it is usually known in advance what subcontractors will be used, occasions do arise during the course of a project where subcontractors need to be brought in, or changed, at very short notice. In such cases, rather than cause delays to the project in order to inform the Client, it will usually be sensible and acceptable to let the Client know as quickly as possible after the decision has been taken.
B22 The period of time for which research Records should be kept by the Researcher will very with the nature of the project (e.g. ad hoc, panel, repetitive) and the possible requirements for follow-up research or further analysis. It will normally be longer for the stored research data resulting from a survey (tabulations, discs, tapes etc.) than for primary field records (the original completed questionnaires and similar basic records). The period must be disclosed to, and agreed by, the Client in advance. In default of any agreement to the contrary, in the case of ad hoc surveys the normal period for which the primary field records should by retained is one year after completion of the fieldwork while the research data should be stored for possible further analysis for at least two years. The Researcher should take suitable precautions to guard against any accidental loss of the information, whether stored physically or electronically, during the agreed storage period.
B24 On request the client, or his mutually acceptable representative, may observe a limited number of interviews for this purpose. In certain cases, such as panels or in situations where a Respondent might be known to (or be in subsequent contact with) the Client, this may require the previous agreement of the Respondent. Any such observer must agree to be bound by the provisions of this Code, especially Rule B4.The Researcher is entitled to be recompensed for any delays and increased fieldwork costs which may result from such a request. The Client must be informed if the observation of interviews may mean that the results of such interviews will need to be excluded from the overall survey analysis because they are no longer methodologically comparable. In the case of multi-client studies the Researcher may require that any such observer is independent of any of the Clients.Where an independent check on the quality of fieldwork is to be carried out by a different research agency the latter must conform in all respects to the requirements of this Code. In particular, the anonymity of the original Respondents must be fully safeguarded and their names and addresses used exclusively for the purposes of back checks, not being disclosed to the Client. Similar considerations apply where the Client wishes to carry out checks on the quality of data preparation work.
B25 The Client is entitled to the following information about any marketing research project to which he has subscribed:

BACKGROUND

- for whom the study was conducted - the purpose of the study - names of subcontractors and consultants performing any substantial part of the work

SAMPLE

- a description of the intended and actual universe covered - the size, nature and geographical distribution of the sample (both planned and achieved); and where relevant, the extent to which any of the data collected were obtained from only part of the sample. - details of the sampling method and any weighting methods used - where technically relevant, a statement of response rates and a discussion of any possible bias due to non-response

DATA COLLECTION

- a description of the method by which the information was collected - a description of the field staff, briefing and field quality control methods used - the method or recruiting Respondents; and the general nature of any incentives offered to secure their co-operation - when the fieldwork was carried out - (in the case of ‘desk research') a clear statement of the sources of the information and their likely reliability

PRESENTATION RESULTS

- the relevant factual findings obtained - bases of percentages (both weighted and unweighted) - general indications of the probable statistical margins or error to be attached to the main findings, and of the levels of statistical significance of differences between key figures - the questionnaire and other relevant documents and materials used (or, in the case of a shared project, that portion relating to the matter reported on). The Report on a project should normally cover the above points or provide a reference to a readily available separate document which contains the information.
B27 If the Client does not consult and agree in advance the form of publication with the Researcher the latter is entitled to:(a) refuse permission for his name to be used in connection with the published findings and (b) publish the appropriate technical details of the project (as listed in the Noted to B25)
B29 It is recommended that Researcher specify in their research proposals that they follow the requirements of this ICC/ESOMAR International Code and that they make a copy available to the Client if the latter does not already have one.
APPENDIX Contacting the Thailand Marketing Research Society The Thailand Marketing Research Society, the TMRS General Committee, and individual members of the committee may be contacted in writing to the registered offices of the society: Thailand Marketing Research Society 12Ath Fl., Sinn Sathorn Tower, 77/44 Krungthonburi Rd., Klongtonsai, Klongsarn , Bangkok 10600 Tel. (662) 840-4700