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The Survey and Opinion Research Profession Reacts To Article Promoting Fraud

Rocky Hill, CT - A surprising editorial featured in New York Magazine this week entitled "Group Thinker" has outraged the survey and opinion research profession. Author Will Leitch details from personal experience how to "make a living off of focus groups by telling them what they want to hear." In response to the inaccurate and offensive content highlighted in the column, the Marketing Research Association, Qualitative Research Consultants Association, Council for Marketing and Opinion Research, American Association for Public and Opinion Research and the Council of American Survey Research Organizations has taken immediate action in informing the publication the backlash of promoting fraudulent behavior.

The article published in the June 21, 2004 edition of New York Magazine guides readers on how to fabricate their answers to recruiters in order to get paid to be a respondent in a focus group.

Leitch wrote:

It all began when I woke up to my status as a card-carrying member of the advertiser-horny 18-to-34-year-old, single-white-male segment of society. As such, my opinions are valuable. Focus groups pay serious money: anywhere from $75 to $300 an hour for sitting with a bunch of other guys and commenting on everything from alcohol packaging to the elastic waistband of your tighty-whities.

Representatives for the industry concluded that potential harm that may be caused by a writer's attempt at an anecdotal piece.

"It is critical to the survey and opinion research profession that legitimate respondents be utilized in the research process," said MRA Executive Director, Larry Hadcock. "Billions of dollars are expended annually based upon the outcome of survey and opinion research. To suggest ways to sabotage this process puts countless businesses that are critical to the US economy in jeopardy."

In order to express this sentiment to those responsible for publishing the article, a letter to the editor was drafted by MRA, QRCA, CMOR, AAPOR and CASRO.

An excerpt from it read, "Printing the article is akin to telling readers how to cheat on the law boards, falsify medical credentials or steal from their employers. For your publication to further this unethical behavior is unconscionable."

Leitch could not be reached for comment.

For more information, please contact:

Larry Hadcock
[email protected]

Jay Wilson

Nancy Belden

Marketing Research Association
1344 Silas Deane Hwy., Suite 306 • Rocky Hill, CT 06067-0230
Tel: 860-257-4008 • Fax: 860-257-3990 • [email protected]

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