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Independent Market Research

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Independent Market Research

Independent market research may have more than one specific definition. Specifically, independent market research may refer to research carried out by an independent company (such as DJS Research Ltd) or to the act of carrying out objective research independent of any outside influence.

Independent market research companies are essentially the same as any other independent business in that they are commonly privately owned (instead of publicly traded) and generally smaller in size – notably in terms of turnover and numbers of staff – than other, larger, market research agencies. That said, this distinction is not uniform, and some independent consultancies have grown to be very large organisations indeed. Traditionally, a perceived advantage of independent research agencies is that they can often be much more reactive and responsive than larger agencies, and also that senior team members may be more involved in day to day research. Some independent agencies have their own CATI units and other data collection strategies, such as a field force and online survey capability, although others may operate on a more insight led basis – simply analysing findings from data collection carried out by other bodies and making recommendations.

Independent market research as an activity is the process of carrying out a qualitative or quantitative study from an objective point of view, and is one of the most common reasons that a market research agency might be engaged. Research often needs to be clearly seen to be objective, and projects such as Employee Satisfaction Surveys, for instance, benefit greatly from respondents’ knowledge that any comments they make will not be attributable to them by their employers – meaning they can be much more open and candid than they may otherwise be. In this case, the employer would benefit from a frank and honest discussion of how their staff perceive their working environment, and could implement changes should it be necessary to do so.

Other instances where utilising independent consultants is also an important consideration might be in surveys which are to be used in a PR or marketing campaign, customer satisfaction research, research with vulnerable or at-risk audiences and research where the data being requested may pertain to the organisation on behalf of which the research is being conducted – for instance in work DJS Research have carried out for the Competition Commission to assess the impact of mergers.

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