Can I survey under-16s?

Market Research Society codes of conduct stipulate that parental permissions must be obtained to approach under-16s, in order to seek the child’s informed consent to carry out an interview. Additionally, research project methodologies and questionnaires targeted at under-16s should be designed to take into account the age groups taking part and must be tailored to ensure the information is capable of being easily understood.

As the Audience Finder survey is designed to help organisations monitor audience engagement in a standardised way across their programme, the questionnaire and methodologies cannot be tailored to meet the strict Market Research Society criteria required to ensure full consent of under-16s and that the nuances of all questions are capable of being understood by a child.

The Audience Agency, therefore, does not encourage seeking survey responses from children as part of the Audience Finder Data Tools, as the likelihood that they are able to provide objective responses that would align with the remainder of the dataset cannot be gauged.

Safeguarding Considerations

The Audience Agency cannot mandate or provide for a system which would absolutely require thorough safeguarding steps and procedures to be put in place by those responsible for collecting data to ensure the safety and care of children, and in which we have absolutely no mandate or means to enforce. If people were to seek to conduct surveys with children, The Audience Agency does not have the resources to manage or advise them to ensure that all safeguarding measures are in place, and therefore we do not recommend that organisations conduct surveys with children.

What happens if an under 16 fills out a survey?

If under-16s are interviewed or complete an online questionnaire, their full responses will be removed from the dataset before it is uploaded onto your Audience Finder dashboard. Therefore, any responses from under-16s will not be counted towards your target of 380 responses.

For more information, please see our good practice guide to sampling.