A world’s best practice quality standard for online research is being launched in Melbourne today by Australia’s peak market and social research bodies.

Two years in the making, the Quality Standard for On-line Access Panels (QSOAP) is an initiative of the Association of Market and Social Research Organisations (AMSRO) and the Australian Market and Social Research Society (AMSRS).

President of AMSRO, Brian Fine, said that QSOAP was developed in Australia because online research is carried out in Australia more than anywhere else.

Around one-third of all quantitative research in Australia is being conducted online. Already, hundreds of thousands of Australians are on on-line panel databases, so the industry has recognised the need to introduce best practice for those taking part, as well as those buying the results of the research, Mr Fine said.

For the last two years, we have researched the best standards from around the world, and brought them together to create QSOAP. Anyone buying or taking part in a QSOAP accredited research project will know that their interests are being protected. People buying the research will know that a range of quality control processes have been applied and that results are replicable and representative.

President of AMSRS, Peter Harris noted that QSOAP will enhance the professional reputation of researchers while protecting the interests of people taking part.

QSOAP will be the standard that separates amateurs from professionals conducting online research. QSOAP will ensure, for example, that personal details are not on-sold and privacy of individuals is managed carefully. For research buyers, it is extremely important that information being collected in their name is collected in an ethical manner, and equally important that the data they receive can be relied upon. This quality standard will not only safeguard the reputation of the industry from poor practice but also significantly enhance the professional status of those who work in it.

The industry has an outstanding record of developing effective Standards. AMSRO’s Privacy Code was recently picked as a finalist for the Australian Privacy Awards