EU Research Row – Scrutinising Methods

Published: 05 November 2015

The core of the complaint is that the CBI carefully selected the interviewees from its own member base, allegedly ignoring many of its smaller members

Regardless of which side of the debate you sit on, the case brings to the fore both the opportunities and perils of using research to inform and shape debates.

A row flared up this week as the Vote Leave Group accused the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and YouGov of “wholly unrepresentative” research that amounted to a “serious violation” of the rules.

Some may write this off as campaigning tactics, while others will argue the CBI and YouGov genuinely have a case to answer. Regardless of which side of the debate you sit on, the case brings to the fore both the opportunities and perils of using research to inform and shape debates.

The core of the complaint is that the CBI carefully selected the interviewees from its own member base, allegedly ignoring many of its smaller members. As a result, Vote Leave argues, it was wrong to claim the figures were representative of British businesses. They also believe that both the CBI and YouGov breached best practice by failing to disclose information about the poll on their websites.

In short, the accusation here is that the research was engineered to provide the outcome its owners wanted.

This is a timely moment to reinforce a number of vital points around the use of research to shape debates.

To read the full article, visit  LinkedIn Pulse here.

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