VI Grushin sociology conference took place in Moscow on March 16-17
On March 16-17, 2015 in Moscow the All-Russian Center of Public Opinion Research, VCIOM Foundation and the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA) presented the Sixth Grushin sociology conference. Traditionally, the conference was dedicated to the memory of a prominent Russian sociologist, founder of the first all-Russian network of gathering sociological information, Boris Andreevich Grushin (1929-2007), who made public opinion polls a part of sociological science, and not just an industry of collecting empirical data for other sciences.
The conference welcomed the leaders of sociological industry - practicing sociologists from federal and regional research companies, research centers and institutes, academic community and interested users of sociological data from business structures, mass media, governmental bodies, political and public organizations.
In terms of scale and geography VI Grushin conference became the largest event in the sphere of applied sociology. More than 1800 specialists registered to attend the conference. More than a thousand participants attended it personally, including participants from 13 foreign countries – Armenia, Belarus, Holland, Kazakhstan, Kenia, Kyrgyzstan Cuba, Moldova, USA, Ukraine, Finland, Czech Republic and Sweden. ,
During various sections of the conference directors and key specialists of Russian and foreign research companies acted as speakers: Director General of VCIOM Valery Fedorov, Director of the Public Opinion Foundation Alexander Oslon, Director General of GFK-Rus Alexander Demidov, head of ZIRCON research group Igor Zadorin, Director of the Center for the Study of Inter-Ethnic Relations of ISRAR Leokadia Drobizheva, managing director of FOM Elena Petrenko, Director of Kiev Institute of Sociology (KIoS) Vladimir Paniotto, professor of sociology at Södertörn University (Sweden) and former research director of the Centre for Baltic and East European Studies (CEEBS) Apostolis Papakostas, professors at Alexander Institute of Helsinki University (Finland) Markku Kangaspuro and Markku Kivinen and many others.
The main theme of the 2016 conference was “The life of research after the research”. The organizers suggested that all interested parties think about how the research results are used, how comprehensible the language of the research seems to the client and end users, how to make the product more interesting, appealing and through that, secure its future. 24 events within the conference were dedicated to finding answers to these questions and solutions to related methodological and substantial issues. Among those events were – a plenary session, thematic sections, round tables and workshops.
The discussions took place within four general thematic areas. Series of main theme events “Post production in applied sociology” included dialogues between sociologists and clients, that concerned the topics of applying the research results to practice, collaboration of sociologists with specialists in adjacent fileds (pr-specialists, designers, political technologists, business-consultants), effective promotion of research products, interactions between sociologists and mass-media, and the development of the market in the regions. Series of events “Flourishing diversity of methods” consisted of sections which hosted discussions of questions related to organizing and analyzing data received from combined research, conducting the audit of fieldwork, conducting research using mobile devices and the Internet, exploiting the opportunities of Big Data, applying methods of evaluation of government services, monitoring inter-ethnic relations, and making these results applicable to practice. The focus of topical events under the title “What sociology knows” was on public consciousness in the wake of the crisis, relations between sociology and the authorities, sociological support of strategic state planning, international affairs, problems of aging, justice and civil society. During the “Professional sociological community: answering the challenges of today” series of events the participants discussed the problems of standardization of professional-qualificational requirements of the industry, and defined the borders of extreme sociology, attempting to find the answer to the question whether “borderline extreme” sociology is science, art, or taboo.
An important result of the conference is the acceptance of a draft professional standard for specialists in organizing and conducting sociological and marketing research. This standard will be included in a series of key documents that influence the course of development of the industry, as it sets the foundation for evaluation and certification of the specialists of this industry, and for correction of academic programs that prepare the talent pool for the market. The project of professional standard was presented by a respective working group consisting of representatives of the 7/89 Association, VCIOM, RSUH, HSE, that was formed during the previous conference in 2015. It is still in discussion
Moreover, the memorandum of establishment the Professional Qualifications Council (PCC) operating in the sphere of sociological and marketing research. The memorandum was signed by representatives of 7/89 Association, VCIOM, FOM, GFK-Rus, MAGRAM market research, VALIDATA, “Socium” foundation (Ekateriburg), CSMR “Analitic” (Volgograd), Social research Foundation (Samara), Public Opinion Institute “Advice” (Kemerovo), SAMI research (Novosibirsk), Center for strategic research of ROSGOSSTRAKH, Chuvash republican public organization of sociologists “Socis” (Cheboksary), Moscow institute of sociological research. The Council will be responsible for monitoring the situation in the industry, forecasting its development, defining the requirements of substance and quality of employees’ work, developing industrial qualifications and strategies for their improvement, formulating requirements for professional training and education, including clients in the process of organization and realization of programs of professional training and education.
Several notable events took place “at the edges” of the conference: the winners of the student research competition were officially awarded with VCIOM premium (scholarship). Participants of the conference were presented with latest publications:
«Russia surprises -2016» (joint publication of VCIOM and Center for Social Projection “Platform”; with support from ISEPR foundation); “The world of Vladimir Yadov: V. A. YAdov of himself and his friends of him”, the book which its author Boris Doktorov dedicates to the life and work of one of the pioneers of Russian sociology; a translation of one of the key methodic documents of the American Association for Public Opinion Research, prepared by the representatives of the Methodology of Federative Research Laboratory of ISAaF RANEPA; “Russian official: sociological analysis of the lifeworld of state and municipal officials”, edited by Dmitry Rogozin. Workshop reports were available for attendance during breaks.
For the first time, the format of remote event was used during the conference– one of its sections (“Sociology in the regions: onto the shelf or into life?”, organized by the RAS Institute for Socioeconomic development of territories) took place prior to the main events, on March 14th, in Vologda. The participants discussed the questions of practical application of sociological knowledge by governmental bodies and industrial firms; the problems of professional training and employment of sociologists were raised. Specific methodological traits of sociological research in the regions were also discussed. The Event was broadcast live via the Internet with feedback enabled; colleagues from Vologda region, Moscow region, Samara, Volga region, Komi Republic, Vladimir, Kursk, Republic of Belarus were able to participate in this event.
In 2016, Grushin conference became one of the key events of Russian Research Week, first county-wide forum for those involved in the applied sociology and marketing research market, which took place during the period from March 14 to March 18 and united approximately 3000 workshops and open days all over Russia. The week was organized by major sociological companies – VCIOM, FOM, GFK Russia, TNS, Оnline Market Intelligence (OМI), ZIRCON, with support of general partner – The Russian Association for Market and Opinion Research (RAMOR) and leading research associations – ESOMAR and Group 789.
The activity and interest of representatives of professional community towards Grushin conference ajustify the hope that these events will achieve even greater success in 2017. Program committees have begun preparations for the 2017 season and are accepting proposals form all interested colleagues via the following e-mail addresses: firstname.lastname@example.org (Grushin Conference) and email@example.com (Russian Research Week).