Navigating Canada’s Research Industry: CRIC, CAIP and Beyond

By Arundati Dandapani

It is sometimes difficult to navigate the “alphabet soup” of certificates, certifications, and associations in the market research field. To help us understand this landscape in Canada, we are pleased to publish this post by Arundati Dandapani.

If you are a marketing researcher in Canada, or doing business in research with a Canadian firm, you may be familiar with the Canadian Research Insights Council (CRIC), the standard setting association for industry practitioners and the certification body it supports called the Certified Analytics and Insights Professionals of Canada (CAIP). Both organizations are non-profits that are governed by two separate Boards of Directors. They have been set up to serve the diverse needs of research practitioners in Canada who operate in a self-regulated domestic industry worth over US $600 million annually. Both support the ICC/ESOMAR International Code on Market, Opinion, and Social Research and Data Analytics.

Formalizing Skills with Professional Credentials

CAIP is the certification marketing researchers obtain when applying for higher credentials that testify to their professional expertise, knowledge, and skillsets. The designation was founded on a core competency framework that stresses technical competencies (“hard skills”) and enabling competencies (“soft skills”) that are essential for business and social research today. The competency framework can be downloaded from the CAIP website.

The qualifying exam or pathway for the CAIP designation allows researchers to exhibit their competencies within the technical and enabling framework outlined above. The CAIP exam was virtually hosted for the first time during the pandemic in April, proctored by our testing solutions partners Prometric, with the next sitting of the CAIP exam on October 04th. The syllabus includes preparatory virtual seminars by the current CAIP Board Chair, Robert Wong, and a recommended reading CAIP book, Practical Marketing Research by Dr. Chuck Chakrapani, Jordan A. Levitin, and Ken Deal.

Drawing from the strengths of CRIC and CAIP’s unique complementary offerings

CRIC and CAIP are member-driven organizations, with the first being more focused on advocacy, organizational membership and programs, and the latter centering on education and professional skills development. Together they share an interest in growing trust in this self-regulated profession, and in developing effective guidelines, rooted in limiting the level of governance in the conduct of everyday research, while helping make this industry ethical, competitive and innovative. Moreover, CRIC and CAIP offer important avenues to news on advocacy as they relate to compliance, best practices and certification and skills development respectively.

CRIC and CAIP function independently of each other. CAIP is actively supported by CRIC, the designation’s founding sponsor. In the short span of two years, both organizations have accomplished notable milestones. About a dozen industry clients and suppliers have demonstrated active support for the CAIP designation. CRIC’s membership rate is on a growth curve, up by 30% since last year. It now includes over 70 organizational members that are a mix of accredited agencies and associate agencies (including client-side members, academic partners, non-profits / research institutes and a more recent “suppliers to the industry” category). Our growing list of academic partners includes Algonquin College (Ontario), Bishop’s University (Quebec), Georgian College (Ontario), and University of Alberta (Alberta).

Levering Global Strategic Partnerships with ESOMAR, MRII and UGA

Global strategic partnerships are valuable for advancing the quality of research to clients across the globe. CAIP is also endorsed by ESOMAR and MRII (the Market Research Institute International). The CAIP designation opens new pathways across recognized international associations and avenues for transferability, mutual accreditation and growing professional development opportunities.

MRII, in collaboration with The University of Georgia, offers continuing education courses to CRIC and CAIP members at reduced rates. Moreover, the networks, resources and knowledge sharing that are disseminated across our jointly partnered webinars offers stimulating content that covers key learning competencies from diverse leading experts, many of whom are also CRIC, CAIP and ESOMAR members and their clients. Some examples of free webinars that showcase industry thought-leadership through CRIC include:

The Role of Insights in Knowledge Management, Data Quality and Data Diversity

  • Technical Competencies Learned: Defining business problem, gathering data, analyzing data
  • Enabling Competencies Learned: Collaboration, communicating findings and insights
  • Topics Covered: sample design, data processing, information management, data analysis, data storytelling, research ethics

Careers in Marketing Research – Opportunities in the Coming Decade

  • CAIP Technical Competencies Learned: Defining business problem/ research approach, communicating insights
  • CAIP Enabling Competencies Learned: Professional and ethical practice, problem solving and analysis, collaboration, communicating findings and insights
  • Topics Covered: career trends, skill trends, essential soft skills, essential hard skills, workforce trends, data storytelling, business opportunities, hiring best practices

Enhanced Customer Experience Research

  • CAIP Technical Competencies Learned: Defining business problem / Research approach, gathering and analyzing data, communicating insights
  • CAIP Enabling Competencies Learned: Problem solving, leadership, teamwork, collaboration, ethics
  • Topics Covered: customer experience, customer satisfaction, customer attention, client experience, NPS, customer journey mapping, semiotics, stakeholder management, data storytelling, research ethics

Of late, more global members have been joining CRIC to grow their Canadian market presence and value to Canadian clients. This trend is expected to continue given Canada’s stable economy and political climate, business environment conducive to growth, and potential long-term returns from advancing research in Canada, neighbouring the globe’s centre of marketing research, the US. While the regions represented by our members keeps growing, the diversity across the research, analytics and insights disciplines also grows as we include new and unique paths to CRIC membership and CAIP certification. For more updates from Canada’s research, analytics and insights industry, you can subscribe to the monthly newsletter foresight and to CRIC and CAIP communications here.

To become a CRIC Member visit: https://canadianresearchinsightscouncil.ca/joincric/

To obtain the CAIP Certification visit: https://www.caip-paim.ca/become-a-caip-2/#why

Arundati Dandapani, CAIP lives in Toronto, Canada and is the Chief Editor and Intelligence Officer (CIO) of the Canadian Research Insights Council (CRIC) and the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Certified Analytics and Insights Professionals of Canada (CAIP). She is also a Reg Baker Awardee (2020-21), serves on the Certification Council of the Institute for Certification of Computing Professionals (ICCP), and is the founder of Generation1.ca. Arundati can best be reached at arundati@canadianresearchinsightscouncil.ca or arundati@caip-paim.ca.

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