Research Guidelines

This guideline outlines how the Advisory Board Centre through the Global Research Council division manages information and protects privacy rights within the research agenda. This guideline sits within the broader Privacy Policy for the Advisory Board Centre.

Research Methods Undertaken

General Benchmarking

Advisory Board Centre may use information disclosed through surveys or diagnostics or otherwise provided to or generated by Advisory Board Centre or its Affiliates (collectively “Research Data”) for validation, research and benchmarking purposes and product development. Unless otherwise specified prior to collection, Research Data will be disclosed in the aggregate and presented in an anonymous form and will not include (directly or by inference) any information identifying participating organisations or any identifiable individual as the source of such data. Access to Research Data will be restricted to those individuals who need such access to deliver Advisory Board Centre products and/or services.

Business Reports

Advisory Board Centre may collate information gathered from an organisation into a business diagnostic report. This may be provided to the organisation and their affiliate providers. The data may be used in larger research data sets to identify market trends. This information is desensitised in collated market reports. Business Reports may also be used as a longitudinal study by agreement with the organisation. With permission, it may be collated into a Case Study (see Case Studies below).


The Business Growth Score process supports Certified Chairs in understanding a clients needs, create benchmarks for impact measurement and review priorities for an advisory board. The Business Growth Score survey link is generated by Advisory Board Centre using the Survey Monkey tool. Reports are generated by the Advisory Board Centre. An organisation name and email address will not be requested.

For the purpose of research, information is de-identified and included in a 6-month research data batching process.


From time to time, we or our service providers may collect your personal information via surveys. We will only use the personal information collected for analytical purposes, updating our records or to assist with market reports, model development improvement or development of our products and services. By completing these surveys, you accept that your personal information may be transferred outside Australia.

Focus Group

A focus group is a form of research in which a group of people are asked about their perceptions, opinions, beliefs and attitudes towards business trends, concepts, or ideas. Questions are asked in an informal group setting where participants are free to talk with other group members. Generally, the focus group will consist of eight participants and a researcher who guides the discussion.

Arrival or acceptance of involvement is a consent and agreement to participate in the research project.

Research sessions are usually recorded, and you will be asked permission before we do so. The recordings are used for an analysis of the project and will not be used for any other purpose.

Generally, the researcher will introduce the topic that is going to be discussed and allow the conversation to flow freely, guiding it so that we may gather the information on the topic. Please keep in mind that there are no right or wrong answers in a group discussion, merely opinions. As with everywhere in society, you may not agree with everyone’s opinions, and it is important to let us know why you don’t agree, however, this must be done with respect to the others in the group.

The most important thing to remember is that the discussion is meant to be informal, honest, interesting, and fun.

In-depth Interview Respondents

An in-depth interview gives an opportunity for an individual to talk to a researcher in detail about their experiences in a more private setting than would be the case with a focus group. As with focus groups, the discussions are completely confidential but help us, as researchers, to understand in detail people’s views, experiences and perceptions on issues that are important to the topic.

As with focus groups, discussions may be recorded (with your consent) to ensure that we have an accurate record of your views. The recordings are only used for our analysis, and we do not identify anyone in our reporting.

In-depth interviews are a great opportunity for you to talk about your own experiences and views on a subject or issue. This provides a very useful, ‘rich’ and detailed insight to our clients which they may not get using other approaches such as surveys.

Case Studies

Similar to in-depth interviews, Case Studies are structured interviews about your direct experience. With your consent, the case study may be logged, recorded and made public.

Case Studies may also be collated from longitudinal data from Business Reports. With the approval of the organisation, the Case Studies may be recorded as validation of the organisational experience.

Research, Technical Committees & PROJECT ADVISORY BOARDS

Committees are a curated group to explore and evaluate specific topics. Committees generally have a Charter and Codes of Conduct that governs the focus and agenda. Committee members’ professional information may be made public. Individual views are not disclosed in the public domain. Committee members may be asked for market commentary and be recorded for distribution.

Secondary Research

Publication searches are a part of market validation in the development of research reports. Publications and authors are referenced and included in reports.

Specific Research Privacy Information

The Advisory Board Centre respects and upholds rights under the Australian Privacy Principles (APP) contained in the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) (Privacy Act), New Zealand Privacy Act 199 and the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). See our Privacy Policy for more.

Information specifically relating to the Advisory Board Centre research programs are below.


The Advisory Board Centre collects both personal and sensitive information as part of its regular social research activities.

Personal Information

As part of our research, we are likely to collect your personal information. The Privacy Act defines personal information as: “information or an opinion, whether true or not, and whether recorded in a material form or not, about an identified individual, or an individual who is reasonably identifiable.”

The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) cites the following as common examples: individual’s name, signature, address, telephone number, date of birth, and commentary or opinion about a person. We may collect any of the above information as well as any other personal information that is sufficiently relevant to the topic of the research.

Given the nature of the research work conducted, it is not always practicable for interview subjects to remain anonymous or to use pseudonyms.

Sensitive Information

Depending on the nature of the research we conduct, we may also collect sensitive information from you. This could include information or an opinion (that is also personal information) about individuals:

  • racial or ethnic origin
  • membership of a political association
  • affiliations
  • philosophical beliefs
  • membership of a professional or trade association, membership of a trade union

Sensitive information will only be collected with your prior consent and only if it is directly related to, or reasonably necessary for the research we conduct.


The Advisory Board Centre will generally collect your personal information directly from you in the course of your participation in our research and/or surveys. However, we may also from time to time collect personal information about you from third parties, such as when a client provides us with a list of sample data to use in conducting our research.

If this is the case, we will inform you that we have received your personal information as soon as is practicable and the circumstances of the collection. At this time, you will be provided with an opportunity to decline participation and opt out of any research process. If you elect to do so, we will delete any of your personal information in our possession, as soon as is reasonably practicable.

We may also collect personal information from public phone directories, commercial or consumer listings, data organisations and respondent agencies.


We will not use or disclose your personal information for the purpose of advertising, promotions or direct marketing activities without permission.

If you have participated in our research, we will only re-contact you if you were informed of this prior to collecting your personal information or if we have valid reasons to believe a genuine research concern warrants such re-contact.


We will not disclose any personally identifiable research information we collect from you unless we have your express prior consent and will only report the information you provide in an aggregate form that will not personally identify you.

We will not disclose any personal information or personally identifiable research information to a third party for a purpose other than conducting our research unless we have your express prior consent or are required to do so by an Australian law or a court/tribunal order.

In the course of conducting research, we may rely on third-party service providers to host or store the data we collect. We take all reasonable steps to ensure that third-party service providers comply with the Privacy Act.


You have the right to request access to any personal information we hold about you. This includes confirmation as to whether or not your personal data is being processed, where and for what purpose. You can request this information by contacting us at the details listed below. Where we hold information that you are entitled to access, we will respond to your request in a reasonable time and endeavour to provide you with a suitable range of choices as to how access is provided. You have the right to request for your identifiable research information to be destroyed or de-identified. Depending on the channel in which the request is made this may take up to two business days to take effect across all systems.

If at any time you believe that personal information we hold about you is incorrect, incomplete or inaccurate, then you may request amendment of it and we will either amend the information or make a record of your comment, as we think appropriate. You also have the right to receive your personal data and the right to transmit that data to another controller.


If you have any questions or believe that we have at any time failed to keep one of our commitments to you to handle your personal information in the manner required by the Privacy Act then we ask that you contact us immediately using the following contact details:

We will respond and advise whether we agree with your complaint or not. If we do not agree, we will provide reasons. If we do agree, we will advise what (if any) action we consider appropriate to take in response.

Our Communications

When contacting the Advisory Board Centre via email, the email system makes a record of the visit and logs information for statistical and administrative purposes.

Data Disposal

The Advisory Board Centre will destroy or de-identify individual information as soon as reasonably practicable once it is no longer required to complete the research project for which it was collected.

For longitudinal studies, research information is maintained for comparative analysis.

Security of Information

The Advisory Board Centre will take reasonable steps to protect your personally identifiable information as you transmit your information from your computer to our website and to protect such information from loss, misuse, and unauthorised access, use, modification, disclosure, alteration, or destruction.

However, you should keep in mind that the transmission of information over the Internet is never completely secure or error-free. In particular, e-mail sent to or from this website may not be secure, and you should therefore take special care in deciding what information you send to us via e-mail. The Advisory Board Centre uses a secure portal for the completion of online surveys.


This Privacy Policy is reviewed periodically. From time to time we may regard it as necessary or desirable to act outside the policy. The Advisory Board Centre may do so, subject only to any other applicable contractual rights you have and any statutory rights you have under the Privacy Act or other applicable legislation.