Research Resources

Article modified: June 2022, 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.


Local and Regional resources

Neighbourhood statistics ONS, the government’s statistical service, has closed its  Neighbourhood Statistics service (2017).

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


Policy Commons “the largest collection of previously published social policy documents, reports and papers from NGOs” – more than 70,000 documents from over 5,000 NGOs based across the globe. You need to set up a free account to access.

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).

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” – see their  implementation resources page.

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 for Research on Families and Relationships, University of Edinburgh.

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.’

Directory of Social Change Over 40 years of research experience with award winning research projects.

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 UK Research and Innovation.

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:

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:

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

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:

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’.

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.

UN Statistics Division – Social Indicators.

Doing it

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.

Guide to applying ethical research principles from Scotland’s Third Sector Research Forum.

GMCVO’s research guide ‘Good Evidence‘ (2022) aims to support people in community organisations to undertake research.

  • ARVAC promotes the use of research by small/local/community organisations (see Sector Development page).
  • 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.
  • Scotland’s Third Sector Research Forum, supported by Evaluation Support Scotland.
  • 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.
Back to top