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Covid-19 Coronavirus - Advice for Members

March 23rd, 2020

Updated 23 March 2020

This bulletin gives you our latest advice on navigating the current public health crisis, covering:

  • MRS guidance on steps to protect respondents and researchers;
  • BHBIA guidance on being sensitive to the pressures on healthcare professionals at this time.
MRS guidance:

The UK MRS has provided market research practitioners with some general advice to help when considering how to deal with the implications of the spread of the Covid-19 Coronavirus. The BHBIA strongly recommends that its members read the MRS’s advice. 

Market Research Society - Coronavirus, Covid-19 General Business and Research Advice 

“The outbreak of Covid-19 continues to evolve and practitioners may have questions regarding what they should do in their businesses plus also contact with participants. This advice is based on current understanding and will be updated should government and health advice change significantly. It should be noted this does not replace government advice; it is meant to supplement the official sources with the addition of some research considerations. Remember to continue to check the up-to-date guidance on the government website.”

The advice now includes this statement:

"MRS guidance to its members on the grounds of health and safety and public acceptability is that face-to-face research (including mystery shopping) should not be carried out in the current environment".

You can see the latest full MRS advice here (the advice includes a link to the Market Research Benevolent Association)

Members may also find the MRS online support blog useful:

BHBIA guidance specific to MR with healthcare professionals: 

However, given the healthcare-specific remit of the BHBIA, we feel that additional guidance is needed in relation to contact with healthcare professionals (HCPs), especially as we have been made aware that in some cases doctors are being approached inappropriately to participate in primary market research at this time. 

Given the unprecedented strain on the time of healthcare professionals at present, members are asked to avoid non-essential contact and delay non-urgent contact with frontline healthcare professionals for market research purposes, via any medium, during this health emergency. (By ‘frontline’ we mean any HCP who may be directly or indirectly impacted by the crisis, such that they are under additional work pressure). 

We are not suggesting that there should be a stop to all primary market research, rather that members should give careful consideration to any communications with HCPs and be sensitive to the challenges they are facing. 

With regard to non-HCPs, it would obviously be wise to consider any potential sensitivities/individual circumstances that might warrant a cautious approach.