Reporting Consumer Research

SelfCare is committed to increasing the quantity and quality of research publications germane to the broad area of consumer self care. As part of this effort we will periodically publish papers related to relevant research methodologies. Authors interested in potentially contributing to this series are encouraged to contact the editors. In this issue we feature an article by Professor Eric P. Brass entitled: ‘Improving the quality of consumer research: Reporting of survey research’.

Consumer surveys are ubiquitous in the news media but, in healthcare, they can yield important information. A clear understanding of consumer knowledge, attitudes and behaviour can help guide policy decisions in many areas of healthcare provision. However to have utility in these spheres, surveys have to be well designed and conducted, and reported comprehensively. As in any other area of study, researchers have a duty to collect and interpret data in an unbiased fashion and to represent it accurately for the academic community.

Publication in a peer-reviewed journal is the time honoured way to present information of scientific value, but much consumer survey work is never published. Failure to publish means that much useful information is lost and it also increases the risk of duplication of both successful and unsuccessful studies.

Pharmaceutical companies may use survey data used to support regulatory applications and this risks being undervalued if it lacks the academic credibility that peer-reviewed publication can deliver. SelfCare would be pleased to receive papers based on consumer surveys, and we hope the article in this issue will be a helpful guide to prospective authors.