Update: Secondary Data Guideline consultation

The feedback window on this key piece of guidance has been extended, find out more and have your say.
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Date 29 November 2021
Author Srikar Govindaraju

ESOMAR and GRBN are hard at work preparing the final version of the Guideline when Processing Secondary Data for Research, and need your help to make sure it provides the best possible assistance to researchers the world over.

Therefore this public consultation period has been extended, to give you the chance to shape this key piece of guidance. ESOMAR are looking for your perspectives as researchers, as managers, as panel providers, sampling experts, sellers or buyers of research, as representatives of multinationals or boutique agencies, as part of national associations or as independent consultants. Whatever your role in the sector and wherever you may be based, we want to know your thoughts any time until 13th January 2022 (16h00 UTC)

Secondary Data - how is it different?

You may have seen our previously updated guidance on the safe and ethical collection and use of Primary Data, that is to say data collected by you for the purpose of conducting a research project.

Secondary Data, in contrast, refers to data that has already been collected for other purposes, which you are then using in your projects. For example, data may come from databases that are created and owned by governments, or from social media platforms, perhaps even data collected by networked devices as part of the 'Internet of Things.'

As noted by chief author Reg Baker, "the role of the researcher is evolving from interviewer/ data collector to data curator, focusing more on organising and integrating data." Researchers are increasingly being asked to or turning to existing data sources to support their clients, and employing increasingly complex and sophisticated methods to properly sort through and analyse the huge amounts of data generated by the world each and every day.

Why this guidance and why now?

As we have all been hearing over the past few years in particular, "data is the new oil." For researchers quality data is always of the utmost importance, and that may mean sometimes turning to other sources to acquire it. When that is the case, there are key ethical responsibilities and best practices to adopt to make sure that data subjects are protected, that the data is secured, and to make sure you get the best possible results.

This guidance complements and works alongside our existing guidance on the use of Primary Data, and on the Duty of Care that researchers have towards data subjects. Together these guidelines will ensure that you are using data of any source safely, ethically, effectively, and always with the wellbeing of data subjects in mind.

As the world moves towards increasingly interconnected systems, with IoT devices proliferating into millions of homes, autonomous vehicles on the horizon, networks of social media sites sharing information, all happening alongside a movement towards securing the rights of data subjects around the world, it is more important than ever that researchers have the tools and guidance they need to keep providing the highest quality of work.

What can you do to help?

The answer is simple - read the guidance, and let us know what you think!

You can find the guidance by navigating to the Codes and Guidelines section of the website, or simply click here. Once you have read through the guideline, share your feedback via our form, which you can find along with the guideline or via the link below.

Any questions?

If you have any questions about the guidance, the consultation process, or anything else regarding our standards and guidelines, you can submit a query via our SERENE platform below or simply send an email to professional.standards@esomar.org

Srikar Govindaraju
ESOMAR Staff, Senior Standards Programmes Coordinator at ESOMAR