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Code of Conduct

Glossary of Key Terminology

Ad hoc market research - Is designed and paid for by just one company, the research is exclusive to the commissioning company, who own the resulting data.

Agency - any individual, organisation or department, which is responsible for, or acts as, a supplier on all or part of a market research project.

Anonymisation - he process of removing, obscuring, aggregating or altering identifiers to prevent the likely identification using reasonable means of the individuals to whom the data originally related. 

Anonymity has two interpretations:

  • Non-disclosure of a client’s identity
  • Protection of a MR subject's identity

Carer – Professionals or unpaid relatives/friends who provide care for those who because of illness or disability require support, this care may be medical and non-medical.

Client - Any individual or organisation that commissions (including requests or subscribing) all or part of a market research project. 

Confidential Research - Research projects for the purposes of market research that do not disclose personal details at an identifiable level.

Consent - The freely given and informed agreement by a person to take part in the market research and the processing of his/her personal data

Consultant - Any individual or organisation that provides research services. Consultants can also be a sub-contractor in the research relationship.

Data Controller - A person who alone, jointly or in common with others determines the purposes for which and the manner in which any personal data are processed and is responsible for ensuring that the provisions of Data Protection legislation are complied with.

Data Processor - Any person (other than an employee of the Data Controller) who processes data on behalf of the Data Controller.

Data subject – any individual whose personal data is used for market research.

Digital listening is the process of extracting data from social  media data for analysis. This can be automated or done manually.

Harm – includes tangible or intangible, material or moral, or societal harm and so could include financial cost, excessive intrusion, damage to reputation.

Healthcare professional (HCP) - any licensed member of the medical, dental, pharmacy or nursing profession or any other person who, in the course of the professional activities, may administer, prescribe, purchase, recommend or supply a medicine.  Non-HCP could include a patient, sufferer, carer, family member or member of the public. 

Identity - The identity of a MR subject includes, as well as his/her name and/or address any other information which offers a reasonable chance that he/she can be identified by any of the recipients of the information.

Interview - Any form of contact with a MR subject to collect information for market research purposes. 

Interviewer - The person who collects data from MR subjects for market research purposes.

Masking is a technique whereby the original social media data such as comments, photos or videos is altered to a point that it cannot be traced back or attributed to the original user (e.g. using a search engine).

MR subject – an individual or organisation that is approached for interview or from which information is collected for the purposes of a market research project, whether they are aware of it or not.  This term individuals and organisations who that are involved actively or passively and replaces the use of the term respondent and participant. 

MROC (Market Research Online Community) describes an online community created specifically for the purposes of market, social and opinion research. Others include DORC (Dedicated Online Research Community).

Passive social media monitoring - is the extraction of data from social media for analysis, there is no interaction with the contributor. It is also known as digital listening or scraping.

Primary market research - Generates original data collected to solve the problem in hand, data is collected directly from MR subjects. Primary data is derived from new and original research designed to address a specific purpose.

Public Domain - Information, which is published and generally accessible or available to the public, content that is not owned or controlled by anyone, intellectual property being not protected under patent or copyright, in market research context it refers to information that is freely available, without restriction.

Public Place - One to which the public has free access and where an individual reasonably could expect to be observed and/or overheard by other people (e.g., in a shop or on the street).

Record - Defined as any brief, proposal, questionnaire, MR subject identification, check list, record sheet, audio or audio-visual recording or film, tabulation or computer print-out, EDP disc or other storage medium, formula, diagram, report, etc. in respect of any marketing research project, whether in whole or in part. It covers records produced by the client as well as by the researcher.

  • Primary records are the most comprehensive information on which a project is based, including not only original data records but also anything needed to evaluate those records e.g. quality control documents
  • Secondary records are any other records about the MR subject and the research results

Recruiter - The person who identifies and invites MR subjects to take part in a market research project.

Researcher - An individual or organisation carrying out, or acting as a consultant on, a market research project, including those working in client organisations.

Secondary market research - Involves collecting and using data that already exists. This data is then re-used and re-analysed, so it is data already gathered for one use that is then utilised for another purpose.

Sensitive Data - Defined as personal information covering the racial or ethnic origin of the MR subject; their political opinions; religious beliefs of a similar nature; whether he/she is a member of a trade union; their physical or mental health or condition; sex life; the commission or alleged commission by him/her of an offence or any proceedings for an offence committed and the outcome.

Scraping is the process of extracting data from social media data for analysis. This can be automated or done manually.

Social media data refers to the information (photos, comments, etc.) that users generate or share while engaged in or with social media. It often includes personally identifiable data.

Stimulus material - Material shown or referred to or read out to a MR subject during fieldwork

Sub-Contractor - Any individual or organisation that undertakes a part of a research project (such as the fieldwork).

Syndicated market research - is shared - both the findings and the costs - by a number of clients, however the data is owned by the market research agency.

Transparency - Ensuring individuals have a very clear and unambiguous understanding of the purpose(s) for collecting the data and how it will be used.

Walled garden is an online service which requires users to register or apply for membership before being permitted to participate. A walled garden can only be accessed after the user has obtained a login and/or password, even if entry is automatic.

For more terms and definitions see EphMRA’s Lexicon - A pocket guide to pharmaceutical marketing and market research terms and definitions at

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