Publishing research into the public domain carries with it the potential for great consequence, especially when politics, policies and important issues are covered. When done well, research that is shared publicly helps to inform the public of the views of Canadians on key issues and supports conversations in the development of sound policies. When done poorly, it can be misleading, erode public trust, and thus damage the reputation of our profession. The objectives of the CRIC Public Opinion Research Standards and Disclosure Requirements as applied to research released into the public domain are:
- To support sound and ethical practices in the disclosure of research;
- To ensure research is unbiased and supports decision-making in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors;
- To enhance public trust and improve the public’s understanding of the use of research;
- To ensure the appropriate transparency and disclosure of research results and methods of studies.
“When assessing whether to publish the results of a poll, the media need to apply the same degree of journalistic critical practices and skepticism that they would to any other source of information,” said Kathleen Frankovic, a former President of AAPOR and WAPOR and a member of ESOMAR’s professional standards committee, spent 32 years as CBS News Director of Surveys, and is now a major election and polling consultant to multiple organizations, including YouGov. “CRIC’s standards provide an important tool for journalists to ask the right questions about polls and to do a thorough job of vetting facts before they publish them with their byline.”
“The more quality polling we have in Canada, the better,” said David Zussman, adjunct professor in the School of Public Administration, University of Victoria, and senior fellow at the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, University of Ottawa. “Election polls are part of a feedback loop voters expect at election time to understand the dynamics of the campaign. They play an important role in modern democracies.”