Taking part in the AOPs 2022/2023 member research FAQs

Find out about our latest anonymous and confidential member research project launching this month

1) Why is the AOP undertaking this research?

We are undertaking this research to inform our bold and aspirational five-year strategy. At the core of the strategy is our commitment to secure the present and shape the future of optometry for the benefit of our members and the people they serve, and we can only do this in consultation with our members.

The aim of this project, conducted by market research experts, is to explore members' views, challenges and expectations for their careers and for the profession - now and in the future. As our members' lifetime career partner, it is vital that we have a current understanding of what members need, so that we fulfil our mission to 'serve, protect and promote' them. Contributions are invited from members in order to help the AOP understand the challenges and aspirations of members, and how we can provide the right support at the right time to our wide and diverse membership.

2) Who is conducting the research?

An independent market research company, Research by Design (RbD), has been commissioned by the AOP to undertake research on our behalf. RbD has worked with the AOP for over 10 years and conducted multiple research programmes in this time with us. Most relevant to this piece of work is the member engagement survey conducted in 2018.

To read more about Research by Design, visit their website:

3) What assurances are there that Research by Design is a bona fide market research company?

Research by Design operates under the Market Research Society’s (MRS) Code of Conduct, which ensures that research participants’ anonymity is protected, and that information provided is kept strictly confidential.

4) What data protection is in place for the AOP's research with members?

Research by Design is registered as a Data Controller to undertake research in any field, including market, health, lifestyle, scientific or technical research, under the UK GDPR, the EU GDPR, and the Data Protection Act 1998 as applicable; registration number Z5405593.

Research by Design is committed to meeting the requirements of the following laws and codes:

  • The UK General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR)
  • The EU General Data Protection Regulation (EU GDPR)
  • Data Protection Act 1998 and the new Data Protection Bill 2017 
  • ICC/ESOMAR (European Society for Opinion and Marketing Research) International Code on Market and Social Research

Research by Design’s privacy policy can be reviewed here: Privacy Policy

5) What type of consultation has been commissioned?

Research by Design will be undertaking a programme of research on behalf of the AOP. The research will be amongst all AOP members, including students.

The research programme is summarised below:

  1. Stakeholder conversations (taking place September to December 2022)
  2. Qualitative research (focus groups) with members (taking place October to November 2022)
  3. Quantitative online survey to all AOP members (taking place in January 2023)

6) Is the online survey secure?

Respondent data is encrypted in transit (via https) and is stored encrypted in EU data centres.

7) How will members be invited to participate in the online survey?

The AOP will let all members who are opted in to received membership surveys know when they can expect to receive the email from RbD.

Research by Design will send email invitations to participate in the survey on behalf of the AOP using this email address: [email protected]

8) How is the online survey being undertaken?

The survey is available online with personalised invitations to participate sent via email. Each email contains a survey link, allowing the recipient to be directed straight to their own version of the online survey. Reminder emails are sent at intervals throughout the fieldwork period to help encourage participation. Reminder emails are automated and the AOP will not know who has participated in the research and who has chosen not to. An opt out will be included for those who wish not to receive any reminders.

9) How long might the online survey take to fill in?

There will be two online surveys running in tandem, one that will be sent to our student and pre-reg members, and one that will be sent to all other members. The surveys are likely to take around 10 to 15 minutes to complete, but this does depend on the answers members provide and the number of comments members wish to make.

If you have not received a link to participate in the survey, please contact [email protected] to request a survey link.

11) Can members re-enter the online survey to make amendments or continue where they left off?

If the survey has not yet been submitted (by pressing ‘submit’ on the final page), members can log back into the survey using the link on the emails to continue where they left off at any time. Each time members move to a new page of the survey the responses are saved.

However, once the survey has been submitted, amendments are not possible; the member would have to contact Research by Design to discuss the options available.

12) How is the survey returned to Research by Design?

Once the final page of the survey has been reached, members will be provided with a submit button at the bottom of the page. The responses will be sent automatically to Research by Design. For those that do not complete the survey, saved answers may still be used in the analysis.

13) How will members’ responses be used?

All responses from the online survey will be aggregated and reported together. Qualitative insights will be reported thematically. All responses will remain anonymous and confidential. Specific comments will not be attributed to any individual (unless agreed otherwise).

Following analysis, we will publish a summary report of the results for members in 2023, focusing on the key findings and areas that members have asked us to build on.

For those that wish to speak to the AOP about the research, please contact John White, Communications Director, [email protected]

To speak to Research by Design, please call 0121 643 9090 or email Kellie Powney, Senior Research Executive, [email protected]