LETTER:Research art

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The Independent Online
AS A freelance market researcher, I have to take issue with Ian Jack's assertion thatmarket research "masquerades as a science" ("Are you all over-bred customers of Sushi bars?", 14 January). It's bad enough being associated with door-to-door salespeople flogging goods and services under the guise of "research", without this.

Market research is a broad church ranging from non-quantifiable qualitative projects through to large-scale quantitative work . The latter is closer to science in that it deals in numbers and percentages whose probability of accuracy can be measured. The fact remains, however, that market research deals with people and behaviour; a dynamic mix of wonderful, often unpredictable diversity. In such an environment, science has to work hand in hand with art to make any sense of our world. The best researchers understand this, offering their clients meaningful insights rather than sterile scientific dogma.

John Dickinson

Clitheroe, Lancashire