FEATURE8 November 2021

Adele Bearfield – Research Hero

Features People

This year, the Market Research Society launched the Research Heroes programme to celebrate the sector’s unsung heroes. Adele Bearfield has joined the cadre of Research Heroes 2021.

Adele Bearfield, Client Service Director, Face-to-Face Field Operations, Ipsos MORI 


Adele Bearfield, client service director at Ipsos Mori, focuses on face-to-face research, and during the pandemic helped to develop new face-to-face protocols and techniques in response to Covid-19 restrictions, using a combination of technology such as video and telephone.

Bearfield has also worked with stakeholders, competitors and the Market Research Society to ensure the survival of face-to-face research after 2020.

Bearfield was nominated because “she has proactively worked with stakeholders to assure their currencies and within the sector to ensure safe, workable protocols and practices are in place for both participants and interviewers. Keeping the lights on and making sure the future’s bright.”

What is the biggest challenge you have faced during your career?

Pivoting our face-to-face business to deliver Covid-19 secure interviewing during the pandemic. When we halted fieldwork at the end of March 2020, we challenged ourselves as a team to be operationally ready to restart Covid-19 secure fieldwork by 1st July. There was a huge amount to consider; the safety of our interviewers and participant was paramount to everything we did. Despite the challenges it was hugely rewarding, and the level of collaboration, focus and drive from the team, wider business and industry was truly inspiring.

What will be the next big trend or development in the research industry, and why?

Mixed mode interviewing that is participant led will become more of a focus. During the pandemic we’ve had to be incredibly agile and flexible as an industry to offer alternative modes of data collection to the public. Moving forward I think we’ll need to retain that agility; as an industry our focus needs to be how can we maximise participation rates while minimising the burden on the participant. We’ll need to keep evolving and honing our approach to mixed mode.

Who inspires you as a researcher?

People. I love going out with our interviewers to witness first-hand the challenges of face-to-face interviewing. Pre-pandemic, I would accompany our interviewers several times a year – the diversity of people you can interview in one day is incredible. On my last day out interviewing we met a cabinet maker, a doctor and a bat ecologist all on one street.

View the full list of Research Heroes for 2021

In Spring 2022, MRS will be requesting nominations for Research Heroes 2022.