Market research can be defined as the process of gathering, analyzing and interpreting information about a market. Such information is important since it can be used for the purposes of design thinking whereby the organization can engage in the production and provision of goods and services based on the specifications of the consumers. The customers are among the major stakeholders of any profit-making organization and as such, it is the cardinal responsibility of the company to make sure that the clients are satisfied by providing them with the goods and wants that meet their specifications. Marketing research is thus the best avenue through which an organization can get to have the actual understanding of what consumers exactly need, their complaints and what they like regarding the goods and services being provided to them. Such an activity is important and it needs to be conducted in the most ethical manner. This brief discusses the importance of the role that ethics plays in any market research alongside the very ethical elements altogether.
The rights and obligations of the members of the public in this regard must be upheld and protected always without any iota of compromise (Mooi et al. 2018). When it comes to a matter touching on the members of the public, then the ethical issue can be in terms of the methods of collecting and reporting the outcomes of the general research. The rights and obligations of the members of the public are based on the marketing research for collecting information regarding the various products. If the information for the public was in any way distorted by any of the marketing customer, then the rights of the members of the public will have been violated hence making such collected information to lose its meaning by far and large. It is the responsibility of any marketing researcher to make sure that he avoids any issues to do with biased research, reporting of the final outcomes by adhering to the strict ethical standards (Martin et al. 2017). The incomplete reporting has the propensity of negatively impacting on the marketing research for instance in a case where the person involved in marketing research did not make public all the complete results.
Furthermore, the element of ethics is also important when it comes to making sure that any misleading environment is avoided at all costs. Such a misleading environment may be that which may lead to reporting of false information to the members of the public. It is improper for the members of the public to be left with the kind of information that is not only inaccurate but also erroneous by any standard (Nunan and Di Domenico, 2013). The information dispensed to the member of the public who are the consumers of the goods and services being marketed or to be marketed is very critical since it is upon this kind of information that they depend on it to make their purchasing decisions. It thus suffices to say that marketing research ethics are thus important when it comes to safeguarding the interests of the members of the public by making sure that they get the right product information (Nilsson, 2018). Any misleading information or incomplete reporting in some cases may render the entire market research of no use something that will by all standards impact negatively on both the consumers and the marketing organizations which will suffer bad reputation hence loss of significant market size for its products and services. Ethics in marketing research thus serve the cardinal role of safeguarding the interests of the members of public who are the consumers by seeing to it that they are furnished with the right information regarding the various goods and services being supplied.
As a general principle, the participants or rather the respondents of nay research work must have their identities concealed all the times. This is very critical in the sense that it assures the researcher of any unbiased information from such people since they are not operating under any fear that their identities will be made public for whichever reason (Sarstedt and Mooi, 2014). It is thus the cardinal responsibility of the marketing researcher to see to it that the interviewees or those ones that filled the various questionnaires have their identities remain a top secret since this is one of the best ways through which accurate and objective responses can be obtained (Sugiura et al. 2017). This element of maintaining the confidentiality of the respondents can only be guaranteed by the marketing researcher who is keen and awake to the ethical requirements and standards of any research undertaking. Such safeguards are important since they improve both the validity as well as the reliability of the overall research something that is of great quality assurance.
The live interviews in this respect should be concealed and never to be made public for whichever reason. At the same time the questionnaire forms should also not provide any avenue for the respondents to have to disclose their identities by whichever reason as well. What is critical is for the market researcher to conduct his work in line with the ethical standards since this is the only guarantee that the identities of the respondents are not in any way made open to the members of the public for whichever reason (Martin et al. 2017). This is thus one of the importance of ethics in any marketing research as it guarantees the rights of the respondents to have their identities concealed and at the same time to make sure that the same respondents complies with the obligations of making sure that the information or rather the responses that they give to the marketing researchers are accurate, objective and free from any elements of bias that may compromise the quality of the final research outcome. The marketing researchers are also under an obligation to make sure that they contact the respondents at the same time and at the same time disclose to them the purpose of the entire exercise prior to their participation. There should be no misleading of the respondents using tricks such as lying to them that the exercise is a mere market survey whose information is to be used for company presentation. Honesty is key in this respect and neither the researcher nor the respondent should mislead the other since this will be in absolute defiance ethical requirements and standards of any market research.
Marketing research has the specific standards and requirements that must always be complied with since this is the only way through which the quality of the final research can be guaranteed altogether. The research requirements such as the obtaining of the prior permission of the respondents before inviting them to participate in the research exercise as either interviewees or respondents to the questionnaires is very critical and ethical by all standards (McQuarrie, 2015). This will provide the target population who are basically the respondents to be fully informed of the goals and objectives of the research and the information that is required from them. With this assurance, then the people involved may plan their schedule and avail themselves at the selected venue for the purposes of the research (Honig et al. 2017). In addition to, the research requirement that all the information regarding the respondents be kept a secret or rather be confidential can only be achieved when the market researcher abides by the necessary ethical standards and requirements without any compromise. Revealing the identity of such people may be detrimental to the overall research in the ways highlighted above given the fact that the obligation to keep the information regarding the respondents squarely falls on the researcher always.
The respondents should also be contacted at the right time that is convenient to them since this is the only way through which the researcher can be guaranteed of getting the best information from them. What is resonating from these is the fact that ethics are of great essence in any marketing research exercise in the sense that they literally guide all the acts and omissions of the researcher and makes sure that they comply with all the research standards and requirements at all times and without any compromise (Gleibs, 2017. This is one of the best ways that marketing research ethics have continued to guarantee the highest quality standards of the marketing research outcomes. Validity and reliability which are the foundation upon which the quality of any research is anchored are because of adhering to research ethics without which the whole outcome will be null and void.
In brief, the ethical issues that may come up during any marketing research exercise include the concealing the identity of the respondents, respecting and observing the public rights and obligations of providing them with the most accurate and objective public information, providing objective and balanced information and making complete reporting on the various goods and services that have been the subject of the market researches. Such are weighty issues since it is the cardinal responsibility of the company to make sure that it collects the most accurate information to make the business to act from the point of information and as such ensure that all the needs and demands of the clients on the market are fully factored in during the decision-making exercise. The importance of ethics in any marketing research extends to making sure that all the final research work or rather reports has the kind of information that has the capacity to help the company to make the most informed decisions since it will be objective and uncompromised altogether. Thus, the responsibility of the market researchers and the sponsoring entities to make sure that research ethics are emphasized and complied with always for the purposes of credibility and helping the organization to achieve its goals and objectives as far as the market research is necessary.
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