Without rigor, research is worthless, becomes fiction, and loses its utility. High quality data is essential to any segmentation data and that's why it's important that before analysis that data captured is reviewed and validated.

The integrity of your data

One of the most basic but important checks you can carry out is the way in which participants have been recruited, onboarded and verified. Data privacy has never been more important to the public and breaches of this can damage your brand not only in the form of fines, but from a reputational standpoint. While many third parties may say that their sources are all opt-in and compliant, how can you ensure this is the case?

Credentials – The most obvious place to start when dealing with any supplier is to look for ISO 27001 which validates the quality of a companies’ information security management system. You should also see if they are registered as data controllers under the Data Protection Act or other relevant certifications depending on where they are based. Certificates and policies should be available upon request.

Partners – It is not unusual in the Market Research world for a company to supplement their own panel/participant source with that of partners. The problem is they rarely advertise this and so while the supplier may have the right credentials, its not a complete guarantee their partners will. Suppliers should have legal agreements in place requiring partners to represent and warrant their compliance with data regulation and should take responsibility of GDPR compliance before purchasing supplementary participants. The same goes for any third-party data source.

Opt-in – Ideally you want all research participants to have been double-opted in. It’s important to define the terms and conditions of participation and the contents of the Privacy Policy.

Data Quality

Sadly as the market research industry has grown and due to the steady proliferation of automation, fraud is becoming more common place and harder to detect. Not all market research companies are credible, so what are some common signs of fraud when examining data:

Speed of interview- Where you have a significant amount of responses where there’s been a much shorter time for the survey to be completed, it may be the sign of an automated solution. Automation is now at the stage where response time can be randomised but you may still see a large number of surveys which all took exactly the same time.

Differentiation in data – While there will always be patterns and trends when asking questions to a group with shared characteristics, there should always differentiation in your data. Where you are getting a large volume of people from the same area, where whole phrases are being used consistently etc These could all be signs of fraud.

Consistency of responses  – Where responses are all answered consistently this could be a sign of fraud. As an example where answers are all spelt perfectly and with the first letter capitalised, this just doesn’t relate to the human nature of surveys where spelling mistakes happen. Another example of this would be an unusual amount of people refusing to give their age, or scale questions always being answered the same.

5 tips for preventing market research fraud

Bonamy Finch have put in place a number of robust measures to ensure all our data security and process is of the highest possible quality. Organisations turn to us for their challenging process that require advanced analytical tools. To find out more, why not get in touch?

Get some ideas from our 20 years of experience

Find out more

Cover the basics of segmentation in our series of blogs

Find out more

Two consumer segmentations to drive savings in domestic energy.

View Case Study

Contact us today

Get in touch today for a no-obligation meeting with a member of our team. All information is treated as confidential and we are happy to offer our opinion or point you in the right direction.