New Graduate Certificate in Survey and Market Research Methods commences

Media release
4 February 2011

Students have commenced academic studies today in the new Graduate Certificate in Survey and Market Research Methods, which is being delivered by the University of Wollongong (UOW) at its Sydney campus.

The course has been developed in conjunction with the Australian Market and Social Research Society (representing individual professionals) and the Association of Market and Social Research Organisations (representing market and social research companies).

‘It’s an exciting time for us, as it’s the first time the profession and industry has had a postgraduate course,’ says AMSRS president Peter Harris.

The teaching staff who will deliver the graduate certificate includes researchers from both overseas and Australia who all have extensive experience and international reputations, including David Steel, Barry Elliott, Phil Hughes and Robert Clark from Australia and Pamela Campenelli and James Brown from the UK.

AMSRS national professional development program (PDP) chair Bob White says this is a watershed moment for the research profession that will better equip it to respond to the challenges brought about by both economic conditions and the impact of digital technology.

‘Introducing postgraduate education will set up the profession so it can weather these types of storms and not get sidetracked from what it means to be a research professional. I would argue that while how we do research and the tools we use continually change, our fundamental role hasn’t changed.’

White says attempts to establish a postgraduate course began in earnest in August 2008. Separately, UoW started developing a postgraduate certificate in survey methods specifically designed to meet the needs of staff at the Australian Bureau of Statistics and government health departments. UoW then agreed to broaden the course so it would appeal to more people working in the industry. Most importantly, from an AMSRS and AMSRO perspective, the course will be based around the QPMR syllabus and include a substantial qualitative research component.

Professor David Steel, who is the director of the Centre for Statistical and Survey Methodology at UoW, says the graduate certificate is structured so that students can obtain a university qualification in one year’s part-time study but only study one subject at a time.

He says that the syllabus will be continually reviewed to ensure that it covers the relevant topics and current issues facing the industry.

‘After completing the graduate certificate students can take another year of part-time study to complete a Masters degree that will include a project developed in collaboration with businesses and government agencies involved in market and social research,’ Steel adds. ‘Students will benefit from formal training in a variety of methods of direct use in their career development.’

The course has been structured so interstate travellers might attend. Over the year, students will need to attend lectures for a total of 20 days over four terms. Classes will be held every second Friday at the Sydney Business School located in the Sydney CBD, starting in late January. The program is designed for students with a range of academic and professional backgrounds and experience with an interest in further developing skills in research methods.

The plan is to, in time, offer the course online but White says: ‘We really want to get the face to face delivery on site right first to ensure the highest standard of quality.’

It is also intended that similar courses will be offered at other university campuses in future – the arrangement with UoW is not exclusive.

Upon completion, those with five years or more experience (with at least two of those years practising in Australia) will automatically become Qualified Practising Market Researchers (QPMR), the industry’s highest form of accreditation.

White concludes by saying that the profession’s future leaders should be earmarked to do the course.

Harris adds: ‘This new course shows where the Society is heading, towards a “whole of life” education approach. We aim to one day have programs in high schools to educate students about what a career in market and social research could be like and will continue to participate in university career days. Then there’s the graduate trainee program (currently operating in Victoria but under review for other states), followed by this new postgraduate course and the QPMR scheme.’

For more information contact John Scott 02 95663100 or

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