Research Resources

Article modified: November 2016, Author:


Info on a range of UK-based bodies carrying out or reporting research into various aspects of society, economics etc. We tend to focus on those of particular interest to our target audience.

Also see: Issue-based support organisations.

Organisations

Local and Regional resources

Find neighbourhood statistics ONS, the government’s statistical service, has produced a regionalised web data service (NeSS). A range of stats are accessible from ward to region scale, but in the early stages of development.

YorkshireFutures Regional Intelligence Network provides stats, policy analysis, research.

National

PolicyLibrary is more of a pointer to public policy research.

ARK is a source of social and political information for Northern Ireland (joint project of Queen’s University Belfast and University of Ulster).

Ashridge Centre for Business and Sustainability Think tank on sustainable development and the implications for leadership, strategy and change in organisations.

Bevan Foundation “the social justice think tank for Wales”.

Centre for Crime and Justice Studies is an independent charity that engages with the worlds of research and policy, practice and campaigning.

Centre for Economic Policy Research Reports include titles such as The New Economics of Rising Inequalities (with OUP).

Centre for Effective Services Irish organisation which focuses on “implementation science”. Useful links page (at Jan. 2015) of organisations around the world promoting evidence-informed approach to policy and practice.

Centre for Labour and Social Studies (CLASS) – thinktank established by the labour movement in 2012 to act as a centre for left debate and discussion.

Centre for Local Economic Strategies Works in ‘the area of local economic regeneration … and serves a network of local authorities, Training and Enterprise Councils etc’. Services and information available on a one-off or subscription basis. Barclay House, 35 Whitworth Street West, Manchester, M1 5NG, phone 0161 236 7036.

Centre for Policy on Ageing Promotes informed debate about issues concerning older people.

Centre for Policy Studies is an independent centre-right think tank.

Centre Forum an independent, liberal think-tank.

Centre for Research on Families and Relationships, University of Edinburgh.

Centre for Scottish Public Policy.

Centre for the Study of Public Policy at University of Strathclyde.

Civitas, the Institute for the Study of Civil Society, aims to “deepen public understanding of the legal, institutional and moral framework that makes a free and democratic society possible”. A useful European think tanks list, too.

Countryside and Community Research Institute at University of Gloucester.

Demos ‘is an independent think tank and research institute based in London. Launched in 1993, its role is to help reinvigorate public policy and political thinking and to develop radical solutions to long term problems.’

Economic and Social Research Council ‘is the UK’s leading research funding and training agency addressing economic and social concerns’. An academic body – find others via Research Councils UK.

Eurostat European statistics of all types.

Foreign Policy Centre is ‘committed to revitalising debate about foreign policy in an age of increasing global interdependence.’ Mezzanine, Elizabeth House, 39 York Road, London, SE1 7NQ, phone 020 7401 5350.

Foundation for Information Policy Research studies the interaction between information technology and society.

Institute of Economic Affairs Mission is ‘to improve public understanding of the fundamental institutions of a free society, with particular reference to the role of markets in solving economic and social problems.’

Institute for Fiscal Studies Mainly on economics and taxation issues, but includes consideration of impacts on/of society. Have done some research with CAF. From site redesign winter 04/05, charity related publications are no longer grouped, so do a search on Charities as keyword. Phone 020 7636 3784, email: mailbox@ifs.org.uk

Institute for Public Policy Research Influential centre-left think tank, aim is to promote and contribute to a greater understanding of key social, economic and political questions. With their web site now accessible its now well worth checking out. 30-32 Southampton St, London, WC2E 7RA, phone 020 7470 6100.

Institute of Race Relations ‘conducts research and produces educational resources which are at the cutting edge of the struggle for racial justice in Britain and internationally. It seeks to reflect the experience of those who suffer racial oppression and draws its perspectives from the most vulnerable in society.’

Institute for Research and Innovation in Social Services Promoting positive outcomes for people who use Scotland’s social services.

Institute for Social Banking International organisation based in Germany.

Institute of Welsh Affairs.

Joseph Rowntree Foundation Do a wide variety of research on issues which matter to the sector, including volunteering, housing, social welfare. Website includes links to other sites with research information, as well as having much of their own available online.

Local Area (previously Authorities) Research and Intelligence Association (LARIA) A good links page. Of most relevance to areas of work in which councils are prominent (e.g. care, housing).

National Centre for Social Research ‘is the largest independent social research institute in Britain. It conducts social research among members of the public to provide information on a range of social policy issues in Britain.’ 35 Northampton Square, London EC1V OAX, phone 020 7250 1866, email: info@natcen.ac.uk

National Research and Development Centre on adult literacy, language and numeracy.

Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency.

Office of National Statistics The government’s agency, giving ‘the latest comprehensive range of official UK statistics and information about statistics as well providing free access to a selection of recently released publications in downloadable pdf format.’

PIRC Independent provider of research on corporate governance and corporate responsibility issues for shareholders (full name is Pensions Investment Research Consultants). See also Ethical Investment – Resource Extra

Policy Studies Institute ‘conducts research which will promote economic well-being and improve quality of life’ and is a wholly owned educational charity subsidiary of the University of Westminster. Quarterly academic journal Policy Studies, published by Carfax (now part of Taylor and Francis). Also produce the influential Cultural Trends.

Public Management Foundation A research centre on issues related to the provision of public services, with underlying notion of ‘managing for social result’. Closely connected with Office for Public Management whose web site features Social Results News, updated weekly. 165 Grays Inn Road, London, WC1X 8UE. Phone 020 7278 1712, email: pmf@pmfoundation.org.uk

Research in Practice for Adults (takes over from Centre for Evidence-Based Social Services?) – research utilisation organisation for adult social care.

Royal Institute of International Affairs at Chatham House is an independent research and membership organisation working to promote the understanding of key international issues.

Runnymede Trust UK-based independent think tank on ethnicity and cultural diversity, working ‘to challenge racial discrimination, to influence anti-racist legislation and to promote a successful multi-ethnic Britain’. 133 Aldersgate Street, London, EC1A 4JA, phone 020 7600 9666, email: info@trt.demon.co.uk

Scottish Universities Insight Institute “promotes collaboration and engagement between researchers and wider society”.

Social Market Foundation. Established 1989 to provide a source of innovative economic and social policy ideas.

Social Policy Association, amongst other things produces Journal of Social Policy, and Social Policy and Society

Social Research Association Exists ‘to advance the conduct, development and application of social research’.

Society Central “a social policy news website aiming to forge better connections between academic researchers and those involved in the policy-making process”.

Socio-Legal Studies Association produces newsletter, annual conference as well as information on research areas.

Sociological Research Online ‘publishes applied sociology, focusing on theoretical, empirical and methodological discussions which engage with current political, cultural and intellectual topics and debates.’ Quarterly (last days of Feb, May, Aug, Nov). Has a full list of useful links. Individuals should be able to get access to most info on-screen, but in theory at least there are restrictions around the Archives for networked organisations.

Third Sector Knowledge Portal is an online library and web catalogue, developed by the Third Sector Research Centre to promote and preserve evidence, research and analysis of the ever-changing work of the voluntary, community and social enterprise sectors. See our page for further voluntary sector research bodies.

The Young Foundation undertakes research to identify and understand unmet social needs and then develops practical initiatives and institutions to address them. Includes Institute of Community Studies?



Other Sources

Alliance for Useful Evidence promotes useful evidence in decision making across social policy. A network of individuals and organisations from across government, universities, charities, business, UK and wider.

Social Science Research Network Well-connected worldwide resource.

Online editions of newspapers and magazines are providing a useful source if you can only find the right site and section. We suggest trying:

Opinion pollsters major players includes Ipsos MORI (has Charities Research Team which helps charities to maximise their fundraising efforts, connect with key audiences or heighten media coverage).

UN Statistics Division – Social Indicators.

Doing it

Secret Services A Handbook for Investigating Local Quangos, Local Government Information Unit, ISBN 1-8979-57-10-0. Published 1995, 192 pages. How to investigate quangos, including how to obtain and use financial, policy and other information from health authorities and trusts, housing associations, Training and Enterprise Councils, Urban Development Corporations etc. Also includes criteria for monitoring the activities and performance of quangos. Available from LGIU, 1-5 Bath Street, London EC1V 9QQ Price: £25.00

Social Research Association has a number of resources and publications,  including on research ethics.

Charities should check out the Charity Commission guidance intended for any charity that carries out, or funds others to carry out, research.

  • ARVAC promotes the use of research by small/local/community organisations (see Sector Development page).
  • Bradford Community Statistics Project appears to have ended – check Bradford Resource Centre just in case.
  • Community University Partnership Project from University of Brighton aims to help local/regional community and voluntary organisations develop their work through research.
  • Interchange is a charity based at University of Liverpool that “facilitates research by social science HE students for the benefit of local voluntary & community groups”.
  • National Centre for Research Methods Has pointers to training sources, publications etc on improving methodolody and capacity. Academically based.
  • Opinion Research Services is a public sector specialist based at University of Wales Swansea.
  • Radical Statistics (RadStats) believes that statistics can be used as part of campaigns for progressive social change.
  • Science Shop from Queens University Belfast and University of Ulster. Students can assist Northern Ireland voluntary and community groups with research projects on social science research, health science issues or policy, environmental and geographical questions, historical research, educational issues, information technology.
  • The American Management Assistance Program for Nonprofits has a section on Basic Research Methods. Their pages are generally ‘library links’ but looks well organised. Another US source: Resources for Methods in Evaluation and Social Research.

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