New and Changing Standards for Survey Research

By: Tom W. Smith
NORC at the University of Chicago/WAPOR ISO Liaison

ISO Technical Committee 225 on Market, Opinion, and Social Research held meetings in Madrid at AENOR (AENOR (Asociacion Espanola de Normalizacion y Certificacion), the Spanish Association for Standardization and Certification) on October 5-7, 2016 to discuss new and revised standards. Two major developments occurred.

First, the last substantive review of the new standard ISO /DIS 19731: Digital analytics and web analyses for purposes of market, opinion and social research — Vocabulary and service requirements was completed. This standard deals with utilizing “big data” and related research using the Internet. It covers topics such as project management requirements, proposals and tenders, project execution, and comprehensive quality processes. Specific issues addressed include maintaining confidentiality, data protection, analysis, and documentation. This standard will be formalized, translated, and made available to the global research community early in 2017.

Second, the group reviewed the first draft of the revised standards that will merge two existing standards – the 2012 update of the ISO 20252 on Market, Opinion, and Social Research and ISO 26362 on Access Panels in Market, Opinion, and Social Research which was released in 2009. It will also update both of these earlier standards. All the current requirements will be incorporated in the new combined standard, plus there will be new additions that reflect the changes in research practices, including leading edge technologies, since the existing standards were adopted in 2012 and 2009.  It will adopt a modular approach in which certain general standards will apply to all organizations that are engaged in market, opinion, and social research (known in ISO parlance as “service providers”) and those doing certain specific activities (e.g. supplying sample, doing fieldwork, running an access panel) will also adhere to the relevant annexes. The exact number and content of annexes have not been decided. Considerable work needs to be done on the merged standards and it will take several meetings and probably a full year before a final substantive draft is ready.

The existing ISO standards can be located at:

Unfortunately, one must purchase these published standards from ISO.