Code of Ethical Practices

It is the policy of the Association to provide our Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct which will serve as a guide to proper Professional Conduct for all our Members. We expect all Association Members to observe the highest standards of ethics and integrity. This means following a basic code of ethical behavior that includes the following.

Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct of 
"Association of Internet Research Specialists"


Maintain Trust and Credibility

The success of our Association is dependent on the trust and confidence we earn from our Members and their engagements with others. We gain credibility by fulfilling our commitments and reaching Association goals through monitoring, observing, and implementing professional conduct for all members.

Demonstrate a Culture of Open and Honest Communication

Within the Association's community everyone should feel comfortable to speak his or her mind, particularly with respect to ethics concerns. We have a responsibility to create an open and supportive environment where Students, Visitors and  Members feel comfortable raising such questions. We all benefit tremendously when all involved in Association activities exercise their power to prevent mistakes or wrongdoing by asking the right questions at the right time, challenge inappropriate or unfair conducts, laws, rules of the association. The members are also encouraged to report any misconduct or unprofessional behavior of other members so that the association can take appropriate actions within the rules and regulations of professional conduct of the Association. The Association will investigate all reported instances of questionable or unethical behavior. In every instance where improper or unprofessional behavior is found to have occurred, the Association will take appropriate action. We will not tolerate retaliation against our Members who raise ethics concerns in a good fair.

Demonstrate a Culture of Open and Honest Communication

Most business courtesies offered to us in the course of our duties are offered because of our positions at AIRS. We should not feel any entitlement to accept and keep a business courtesy. Although we may not use our position to obtain business courtesies, and we must never ask for them, we may accept unsolicited business courtesies. Association Members who award contracts or who can influence the allocation of business, who create specifications that result in the placement of business or who participate in the negotiation of contracts must be particularly careful to avoid actions that create the appearance of favoritism or that may adversely affect the Association’s reputation for impartiality and fair dealing. The prudent course is to refuse a courtesy from a supplier when they are involved in choosing or reconfirming a supplier or under circumstances that would create an impression that offering courtesies is the way to obtain business.

Management Team Responsibility

Management has the fiduciary responsibility for demonstrating, through their actions, the implementation of this Code on them as an ethical behavior example; this behavior will be implemented through clear and direct communication with their members and their issues – this policy will be modeled from the top by example. To make our Code work, our managers must be responsible for promptly addressing ethical questions or concerns raised by our Members and for taking the appropriate steps to deal with such issues. Our team should not consider Association Members’ ethics concerns as threats or challenges to their authority, but rather as another encouraged form of business communication. We want the ethics dialogue to become a natural part of our daily work.

Ethical Policies

We are dedicated to ethical, fair and objective Association policies. We will sell our products and services based on their merit and sense of pride for our Members. We will make independent pricing and marketing decisions and will not improperly cooperate or coordinate our activities with our competitors.

We will not offer or solicit improper practices or accept any gratuities in connection with the operations, rules, regulations, and policies of our Association, nor will we engage or assist in unlawful practices in contravention of non-profit associations laws of Canada and its provinces.

Our Association will provide equal opportunities to employees, management staff and all members and associates irrespective of age, gender or sexual preferences.

We will strive to maintain the highest level of integrity, ethics, good governance and uphold the sanctity and prestige of this Institution as is expected by our members, clients of the Member researchers, the government institutions and the general public.

Uphold the Law

Our commitment to integrity begins with complying with laws, rules, and regulations where we do business. Further, each of us must have an understanding of the Association policies, laws, rules and regulations that apply to our specific roles. If we are unsure of whether a contemplated action is permitted by law or Association policy, we should seek the advice of the resource expert. We are responsible for preventing violations of law and for speaking up if we see possible violations.

Selective Acceptance of Business Courtesies

We must avoid any relationship or activity that might impair, or even appear to impair, our ability to make objective and fair decisions when performing our jobs. At times, we may be faced with situations where the business actions we take on behalf of the Association may conflict with our own personal or family interests because of the course of action that is best for us personally may not also be the best course of action for us. We owe a duty to the Association for advancing its legitimate interests when the opportunity to do so arises. We must never use the Association property or information for personal gain or personally take for ourselves any opportunity that is discovered through their engagement relationship with the Association. Determining whether a conflict of interest exists is not always easy to do. The Association Staff, Volunteers and Members with a conflict of interest question should seek advice from our management before engaging in any activity, transaction or relationship that might give rise to a conflict of interest. 

Offering Business Courtesies

Any Association Member who offers a business courtesy must assure that it cannot reasonably be interpreted as an attempt to gain an unfair business advantage or otherwise reflect negatively upon the Association. A Member may never use personal funds or resources to do something that cannot be done with Association resources. Accounting for business courtesies must be done in accordance with approved Association procedures.

Other than to our government customers, for whom special rules apply, we may provide non-monetary gifts (i.e., Association logo apparel or similar promotional items) to our Members. Further, the Association Board/Management may approve other courtesies, including meals, refreshments or entertainment of reasonable value provided that:

  • The practice does not violate any law or regulation or the standards of conduct of the recipient’s organization.
  • The business courtesy is consistent with industry practice, is infrequent in nature and is not lavish.
  • The business courtesy is properly reflected on the books and records of the Association.

Set Metrics and Report Results Accurately

Accurate Public Disclosures

We will make certain that all disclosures made in financial reports are full, fair, accurate, timely and understandable. This obligation applies to all of our Members, including all financial executives, with any responsibility for the preparation for such reports, including drafting, reviewing and signing or certifying the information contained therein. No business goal of any kind is ever an excuse for misrepresenting facts or falsifying records.

Association Members should inform the Vice President of Human Resources and Compliance if they learn that information in any filing or public communication was untrue or misleading at the time it was made or if the subsequent information would affect a similar future filing or public communication.

AIRS Code of Conduct

Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct for Members

Core value of AIRS

The purpose of this Code of Professional Conduct (the ‘Code’) is to identify those professional obligations that serve to protect the public in general, the client in particular, and the reputation of the profession of Certified Internet Research Specialist ("CIRS”). The Code also clearly identifies each of the Association's expectations of its Members with respect to the Profession.

The Association Members will be regulated by the terms of this Code and acknowledge that a breach of this Code may lead to disciplinary action, as set out in the By-laws.

Certified Members shall ensure that their behavior is consistent with and reinforces a positive public image of the Profession.

Certified Members shall ensure that their activities will not conflict with their integrity, objectivity, or independence.

Certified Members shall ensure that their physical and emotional state is consistent with the requirements of client work, particularly when developing or providing professional advice.

Certified Members shall ensure that all their business affairs as consultants and otherwise shall comply with all applicable legislation and laws, as well as this Code.

All Members shall abide by and comply with all applicable legislation of the law and cannot and will not coerce, instigate, incite or in any way cause any person or persons to contravene any applicable legislation or regulations at any time.

No member will present themselves on behalf of the Association to cause or imply their membership as means of representation or representative of the Association.

All members will apply a “Duty of Due Care” as implied by the law and in accordance with By-laws and Charter of the Association in performing their professional duties.

Non-Member will act on behalf of the Association as an AGENT.

The public has rights to have confidence in our Members (individually and collectively) and, therefore, any actions of the Association Member that jeopardize such trust will be considered “acting in a manner unbecoming to the CIRS,” including:

  • A violation of any applicable legislation or laws.
  • A breach of this Code; and/or
  • Any actions inside or outside of the context of the CIRS Profession that may be perceived to be, detrimental, and damaging to the Profession.

Association Members who breach this Code shall be responsible for suspension or expulsion from membership of the Association or may be responsible for any other penalties, by the terms of the disciplinary procedures of the Association.

    Association Members shall maintain their knowledge and understanding of this Code and the Common Body of Knowledge as an Internet Researcher that is expected to have been gained through continuous studies and knowledge gathering either through certification from the Association or through self-study and experience.

    Association Members shall develop their skills and knowledge beyond the fundamentals described in the Common Body of Knowledge, particularly in their area(s) of preferred practice, to a level that is consistent with the needs of their clients and comparable to the services provided by other consultants in the same field.

    All Members of the Association will conduct themselves with the utmost professionalism and maintain the highest standards as expected by the Association under its Code of conduct and By-laws in accordance with its Charter.

    All and any Member of the Association will freely report any known misconduct or unprofessional behavior to the Association.

    All Members shall ensure that any and all Internet Research Specialists, who work under their assignments understand and comply with this Code will be responsible for any breach of this Code reported to the Association with respect to any Member of his or her team and will be liable to same actions and consequences that would apply if the Member alone failed to comply with the Code where it is determined that the Member was aware, or should have been aware, of the breach.

    The Association Members should not review the work of another Association Member’s work if they in the case where there exists a conflict of interest about their client and follow proper protocol under the By-laws of the Association if such review is to be done.

    The Association Member will look after the interest of the client on priority as long as it does not contravene any laws.

    At all times, our Member will keep in view the confidentiality and interest of the client as a priority.

    Association Members shall provide objective and independent advice and maintain objectivity and independence without external influence while conducting research work for their clients.

    Association Members shall not guarantee qualitative or quantitative results that are not independently derived or constructed based on factors beyond their direct control.

    All researched results for the clients will have to be properly referenced and the resource should be disclosed.

    Association Members will respect any patented, copyrights, intellectual property of others and provide proper disclosure and where necessary obtain permission to use of such data/information in their research if it requires non-infringements and proper permissions of the author or researched data/information.

    Association Members are obligated to identify and disclose any risks associated with such information obtained during the research for the client that may have a material impact on results, inferences and decision making of the client.

    Association Members will not intentionally jeopardize, criticize or discredit work of the other members without cause or with the intent to cause harm and hijack the business of other members.

    Association Members that falsely represent themselves as qualified Internet researchers without proper qualifications as determined by the Association Board of Directors at any time can cancel the membership and permanently ban the name of the Member from their database.

    Associate Members can be banned from their Membership if any false or misleading information regarding their experience and education is found at any time.

    All Fees charged to by Association Member’s to their clients will have to be reasonable under the norms of the market trends and within reason of the nature and amount of research work conducted.

    It is recommended that our Members sign a “Retainers Agreement” with their clients and maintain proper books of accounts as expected within norms of the generally accepted accounting practices and within the framework of GAAP/IFRCS.

    It is recommended that Association Members apply proper taxation in all aspects of the business transactions.

    It is recommended that Association Members maintain proper Audit Trail of documents such as Estimates, Bills, Invoices, Receipt Books, Trust Accounts, Bank Books, and Petty cash, Keep a record of all Bank Statements, Journals, and Other Transaction Journals.

    Association Members will have to confirm and disclose to the client in writing the estimates and billing arrangements related to professional fees, expenses, disbursements, and applicable taxes.

    Should the terms of reference change during the course of the assignment, Certified Members shall ensure that any corresponding impact on fees, expenses, disbursements, taxes, or billing arrangements are communicated to the client and agreed to in writing.

    Certified Members shall not permit for budget or time management purposes, a reduction in consulting time or in senior consulting involvement in an assignment if, as a result, the quality of service will be below that is described in terms of reference.

    Association Member will not create conflict of interest situation with any of Members client and maintain confidentiality and credibility of the profession as the Association Member.

    Association Member will sign a confidentiality and non-disclosure document with their client, and where the client does not provide such material, the Association Member will provide one and duly sign the document and provide a copy to the client.

    Association Members shall store confidential client information and third party personal information in accordance with the policies of the client and, in any event, in such a fashion that through diligence and normally accepted administrative practices, it is possible to safeguard the information at all times.

    After the termination of the contract or delivering the research assignment, the Association Member will return any data or document belonging to the client immediately. The Member will not withhold or hold hostage the client for the documents and information confidential or not as a bargaining chip to recover the amount owed by the client to the Member.

    The rules pertaining to confidential client information shall not apply to compliance with a validly issued and enforceable subpoena and summons as long as disclosure of the information is not in violation of applicable legislation and laws.

    The Board of Directors of the Association has approved the above statements in its first Board Meeting. Members are welcome to challenge or improve this Code of Professional Conduct by submitting their opinions and making suggestions via email at


    World's leading professional association of Internet Research Specialists - We deliver Knowledge, Education, Training, and Certification in the field of Professional Online Research. The AOFIRS is considered a major contributor in improving Web Search Skills and recognizes Online Research work as a full-time occupation for those that use the Internet as their primary source of information.

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