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ESOMAR/GRBN Guideline for Mobile Research launched

11th Sep 17

New guideline highlights best practices for conducting mobile research

ESOMAR and GRBN launch their joint Guideline for Mobile Research for the market, opinion and social research and data analytics sector. This new Guideline aligns global policies with developing regulations and technology and the latest international developments for best practice in this area. Mobile research is a growing market that currently accounts for $1.8bn global annual turnover and is widely used in advanced as well as developing economies.

Mobile research is a rapidly evolving field which ranges from calling or texting respondents to ask them questions, to participants videoing how they perform daily tasks such as cooking and more recently, to collecting data generated by mobile devices such as geo-location data, all to provide researchers with richer insights about attitudes and behaviour. ESOMAR and GRBN therefore decided to update guideline that was issued by ESOMAR in cooperation with MMRA in 2012, and the separate GRBN guideline which was based upon guidance developed by the national associations from the UK, US and Australia. This new guideline is designed to help researchers address legal, ethical and practical considerations in using new technologies when conducting mobile research.

The text has been drafted by a team of international experts to ensure that it incorporates the latest practices of mobile research, so that the new Guideline takes into account the continuing innovation in technology that has created information sources that are relevant to research.

These include:

  • Passive data collection including biometric data, photos and recordings and instore tracking
  • Mystery shopping through camera and video
  • Data that may have been collected for a non-research purpose which is used in researchincluding geolocation data from mobile providers, or usage data from app providers

The Guideline recognises that a range of third parties can be involved as subcontractors in data collection, preparation, analysis, storage and delivery. It also takes into account emerging data privacy regulations and the need to treat phone users with due respect and consideration.

Finn Raben, Director General of ESOMAR said:
“With the omnipresence of smartphones and other mobile technologies, it is of utmost importance that the our sector is effectively expressing our traditional values of respect for individuals and scientific integrity in new and emerging mobile research methods. In this Guideline, ESOMAR and GRBN have tried to do exactly that, although we also recognise that this is not likely to be the last you will hear from us on this important topic”

Andrew Cannon, Executive Director of the Global Research Business Network, added:
“The use of mobile research methods will continue to grow, and we are delighted that we have improved guidance for practitioners by successfully reconciled two existing mobile research guidelines into the one authoritative document. We expect that this update will be one of many as the legal and ethical parameters of mobile research continue to evolve”

Members can download their copy of the Mobile Research Guideline HERE

ESOMAR is the global voice of the data, research and insights community, speaking on behalf of over 5000 individual professionals and more than 500 companies who provide or commission data analytics and research in more than 130 countries, all of whom agree to uphold the ICC/ESOMAR International Code.

Together with national and international research associations, we set and promote professional standards and self-regulation for our sector and encourage, advance and advocate the role and value of data analytics, market and opinion research in illuminating real issues and bringing about effective decision-making.

The ICC/ESOMAR Code and all ESOMAR guidelines are available on
For further information contact Finn Raben at

About GRBN
Global Research Business Network, GRBN, connects 4 regional federations, over 40 national market, social and opinion research associations and over 3500 research businesses on six continents. GRBN’s mission is to promote and advance the business of research by developing and supporting strong autonomous national research associations.

More information about GRBN and its initiatives can be found at
For further information contact Andrew Cannon at