By John Tabone, Canadian Research Insights Council

As an industry, we have long recognized that gaining the trust of participants is critical to the work that we do.  We rely on the honest opinions of participants to deliver the insights that can help organizations enhance the programs, products and services they offer.

That is why growing trust with participants is fundamental to our standards.  Our standards require researchers to be transparent with participants on how we will use the information we collect,  to always protect the personal information from unauthorized access and to always behave ethically and avoid anything that could harm a research participant or our industry’s reputation.

The findings of the GRBN Global Trust Survey 2024 demonstrate that the Canadian industry continues to have a net positive trust score of 21, well above the global average.  It is also trending up 3 points since the 2022.  The survey also found that the majority of Canadian continue to perceive market research as beneficial.

While the findings are generally positive, the remains significant opportunity to do better.  The 2024 survey also highlight concerns regarding the use of AI and concerns about data protection as major risks to trust moving forward.  The survey found that, for a majority of Canadians, incorporating AI into market research practices negatively impacts trust.  The survey also found that trust in Market Research Companies to Protect and Appropriately Use Personal Data was low with a net trust index of -8 (though an 8 point improvement over 2022).  Given these concerns, it is more critical than ever that we continue to enhance our efforts to increase trust.

In Canada, the CRIC AI Committee is already working to develop guidelines to ensure the responsible and ethical use of AI tools by CRIC member companies.

CRIC also offers privacy and information security toolkits to help ensures its members have the policies and procedures to protect the personal information of Canadian.  And the CRIC accreditation program includes a strong emphasis on privacy and information security in addition to research practice.

While having strong standards and compliance with those standards is essential, it is also critical that Canadian understand the protection those standards offers and can differentiate CRIC member companies that follow those standards from other companies that do not adhere to these standards.  That is why CRIC created the CRIC Pledge to Canadians and the CRIC Research Verification Service.

The CRIC Pledge to Canadians highlights 10 key commitments that CRIC member agencies make to Canadians in simple and clear language.  These commitments not only convey some of key aspects of our standards but also serve as way for Canadians to differentiate requests from CRIC member agencies from other companies that do not adhere to the same standards.

One of the commitments is for CRIC members to register all projects with Canadians in the CRIC Research Verification Service.  The CRIC Research Verification Services provides a service for Canadians to confirm the legitimacy of research they are invited to participate in and also to submit questions or concerns with respect to the research.

Our efforts to grow trust have allowed us to maintain a net positive trust score with Canadians.  As our industry leverages more AI based tools, we must continue our efforts to grow trust with Canadians.

John Tabone, Canadian Research Insights Council