How to Assess the Credibility of Market Research Companies

Market Research CompaniesIf you search for market research on Google, you are likely to pull up millions of results.

Unfortunately, not all market research companies are credible. If you rely on low-quality vendors, your own research and conclusions may be equally flawed. The adage “garbage in, garbage out” applies all too well.

Read this article to learn how to recognize potential red flags and hire credible market research firms that produce syndicated research reports with reliable data. For more information on this topic, download our free white paper.

Common Attributes of Low-Quality Research Providers

  • The content doesn't deliver. The report's table of contents promises a certain level of coverage, but only limited information is provided on each topic.
  • There are segmentation errors, including products not understood by industry veterans to be in the segment, which inflate numbers. (For example, including home desks in an office furniture market, or all beds with wheels in a medical beds report.) This alone will make the research useless.
  • The reports regurgitate press releases or government data, rather than providing significant analysis.
  • There are unclear methodologies for seemingly detailed quantitative data. How did the analyst come up with those numbers? Some vendors may not explain their approach.
  • Analysis is out of date. (It’s probably time to stop talking about the recession of 2008.)
  • Information is out of context or incorrect. This may happen when analysts are not specialists in the industry, or are unfamiliar with a particular region.
  • The research includes plagiarized material or is poorly written.

How to Vet a Market Research Company

Gather enough background information so you know the market research is credible. Here are a few ways you can do that:

  • Review the market research firm's history and company information.
  • Look up how long the company has been in business, and read the bios of the leadership team and analysts.
  • Check the research report’s abstract, table of contents, and methodology.
  • Ask for a sample section or table from the report.
  • Speak with a research specialist or account manager about the publisher. Our highly trained and experienced team knows the reputation and track record of hundreds of publishers, big and small, and can give you an unbiased view.
  • Search the company’s name in Google News to see where they’ve been cited. Major and reliable reports should have a fair amount of media.
  • Request a demo of a research platform, if applicable.

Once you have narrowed down your selection, you can also use a publisher assessment worksheet to compare potential vendors according to the criteria that matters most to you. This worksheet is available on page 7 of's white paper The Importance of Market Research for Validation and Decision Making.

Download your copy today for free.

The Importance of Market Research for Validation and Decision Making

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About the Author: Sarah Schmidt is a Managing Editor at, a leading provider of global market intelligence products and services. 

Topics: Market Research Strategy How To's