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IQCS Awards 2021

The IQCS Quality Awards celebrate the unsung Heroes of Quality in research operations…those individuals and member companies who go the extra mile in making quality an integral part of the entire data-collection process.

The awards were judged by current IQCS Chair, Penny Steele and former IQCS Chair, Claire Harris and the awards winners were announced at the IQCS AGM in November 2021.

The awards categories for this year are as follows:

IQCS Interviewer Excellence 

This award celebrates an individual or team in data collection operations who have demonstrated that they go the extra mile in consistently delivering interviewing excellence.

What the judges were looking for:

  • Dedication to quality
  • Consistently high standard of interviewing
  • Robust data-collection
  • Going the extra mile to complete a challenging project or projects
  • Delivering excellence to your internal/external client

The winner is: Marcus Knapp- Kudos Research

Kudos Research’s submission describes the very impressive impact Marcus Knapp has made in a relatively short amount of time.

Joining the company at the beginning of 2021, and working from home most of the time, Marcus has exceeded expectations completing the most challenging of projects, impressing clients with his output and project management skills, and has developed strong relationships with participants and clients alike.

The submission describes his ability to reach, recruit and engage participants from some of the hardest to reach audiences and impressing clients to the point of being asked to contribute to research outputs and requests for him to be part of next year’s research team.

When he visits the office, Marcus is accompanied by a support dog named Louise, who has won the hearts of the Kudos team. Marcus and Louise have clearly made their mark in a short period of time, and Marcus is worthy of the recognition this award brings.

IQCS Data Collection Excellence 

This award celebrates the best in Face to Face or Telephone data-collection. We were looking for a case study of a recent project which you were particularly proud of, which demonstrates how your organisation achieved fieldwork excellence in completing a particularly challenging project.

What the judges were looking for:

  • Robust data-collection
  • High quality interviewing
  • Going the extra mile to complete a challenging project
  • Delivering excellence to your internal/external client
  • Demonstration the importance of great quality assurance processes underpinning the data-collection process

The winner is: RONIN International

This year’s award goes to Ronin International, and their Refugee Resettlement Programme, an annual CATI study interviewing 1500 refugees about their new life in the USA. Having completed the 2020 wave of fieldwork just before the pandemic struck, they rose to the challenge of repeating the task this year, retaining many of the original interviewing team, but having to find and train interviewers all of whom had to be native speakers of often little known languages including Kinyarwanda, Amharic and Sgaw Karen.

Imaginative recruitment methods, a 6 day bespoke training programme, including how to engage vulnerable respondents on often distressing and harrowing topics, and peer to peer quality control for languages where no other solution could be found, while maintaining engagement with interviewers who were working remotely with everyone working in the midst of the pandemic demonstrate the tenacity, hard work and consideration that went into a what was already a challenging research programme.

Agency, interviewer and client feedback recognises the difficulties that were overcome, the quality achieved and the support the fieldwork team received.

A worthy winner of this year’s award.

IQCS Quality Ambassador

The award is going to an individual or team who consistently champion and promote quality standards for data-collection within their organisation.

What the judges were looking for:

  • Details of how the particular individual or team have been pro-active quality ambassadors for their organisation
  • Evidence of how they promote and encourage high quality standards across their business
  • Details of how the overall quality of data-collection processes or deliverables has been positively affected by the efforts of the quality ambassador/s
  • Feedback from users of the data-collection on the positive impact the quality ambassador/s has played in ensuring quality underpins all aspects of the data-collection process

The winner is: Ann-Marie Greensmith- Kudos Research

As Head of Quality Assurance, Ann-Marie champions and promotes quality both within and beyond the organisation.

She reviews and indeed scrutinises questionnaires to ensure they are optimised for interviewers and participants, while also satisfying research objectives; and she communicates her findings and recommendations to clients, who value her forensic attention and suggestions.

Ann-Marie is also seen as authoritative on data privacy, ensures interviewer training is kept fresh and relevant, and is currently revamping Kudos’ operational procedures as the company upgrades to ISO 20252-2019 in 2022.

In their last full ISO 20252 assessment, their MQA assessor observed:

‘GDPR has clearly been fully addressed, with training provided for all. The extra input provided to questionnaire finalisation seems most impressive’

A previous winner of this award, Ann-Marie continues to demonstrate, communicate and encourage the very best in market research quality.

Best IQCS Interviewing Training and Development

The award goes to the organisation demonstrating wholehearted commitment to interviewer-centric training and development with IQCS quality standards and the MRS Code of Conduct underpinning the whole process.

What the judges were looking for:

  • Great feedback from Interviewer attendees on both the content and administration of the training (could be examples of post-training feedback forms).
  • Promotion of the core IQCS values throughout the training
  • Inclusion of relevant information on the MRS Code of Conduct and the GDPR
  • Innovation and creativity in delivering the training – could be multi-media, PowerPoint, or through inter-activity
  • Development of existing skills through targeted follow on training in response to monitoring feedback or the unique requirements of a specific type of work (e.g. probing skills, handling B2B Gatekeepers, qual interviewing)
  • Strong focus on improving interviewer competence, confidence, engagement and morale, investing in the continual improvement of skills to ensure quality and aid interviewer retention

The winner is: Ipsos MORI

Ipsos MORI describes how at the very start of the pandemic a skeleton team were given 8 weeks to transform their interviewer training and development programme, associated materials and fieldwork protocols to be ready for the safe return of fieldwork in the summer of 2020.

Extensive new online training and support processes were developed, as were new data collection tools, including Microsoft Teams to conduct interviews by video, screen sharing in lieu of showcards, CATI interviewing where surveys had traditionally been conducted face to face, with associated training for the erstwhile face to face interviewers, and developing a raft of measures to ensure safety of both interviewers and respondents when face to face interviewing resumed.

Interviewers were fully involved in the developments, which were tested for interviewer and respondent acceptance before full implementation, and the MRS was also consulted on the processes and protocols developed.

Ensuing interviewer and respondent safety and engagement while continuing to provide clients with high quality research during a pandemic are clearly at the heart of the new Learning Management System Ipsos MORI have developed. They are rightly proud of this achievement.

Operational Excellence in the face of Covid-19 . Your story!

The award goes to the organisation who demonstrates operational excellence in the face of the ongoing global pandemic.

What the judges were looking for:

  • Going the extra mile to maintain great team collaboration / morale
  • Delivering excellence to your internal/external client
  • Going the extra mile to complete a challenging project
  • Showing initiatives to keep internal/external clients happy, with feedback from users

The winner is: Kantar

This year’s award for operational excellence goes to Kantar.

Their submission entitled Meeting Criminally High Expectations describes how they were able to rapidly and effectively adjust both research design and data collection tools and techniques to continue to deliver data for the Crime Survey of England and Wales, which has been providing key national statistics since 1982.

A multidisciplinary team of methodologists, researchers and operations staff devised a new Crime Survey panel, recontacting respondents from the previous two years, while the face-to-face interviewing team were trained to conduct a necessarily shortened interview on CATI, underpinned with new quality control processes and support systems for both interviewers and respondents.

The result was high levels of respondent participation and retention and a delighted client, to the relief of at least one interviewer who talks about their concern at how the survey would continue when COVID had struck.

Congratulations to all winners! We are looking forward to next years’ submissions and hope to see you all in person in 2022!

Everybody’s got a story, what’s yours?

The awards categories for 2021 were as follows:
  • IQCS Interviewer Excellence
  • IQCS Data Collection Excellence
  • IQCS Quality Ambassador
  • Best IQCS Interviewing Training and Development
  • Operational Excellence in the face of Covid-19 in 2020-2021. Your story!