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Ideas for data-driven research related to politics

Key data

Whilst there is a wealth of data on politics, a number of studies are regarded as 'key' – either through their subject/geographical coverage, their use of standard measures, their longevity, their usage among the research community or because they are used to create 'official' figures.

The majority of the data described are known as 'raw', 'primary' or 'source' data in the sense that they represent information that has been collected 'first-hand'; they are original data sources which may then be used for 'secondary' analysis by researchers not involved in the data collection process. The majority of these data are anonymised because they describe the attitudes, behaviour, circumstances and personal details of the individuals being studied. These types of data are heavily used by the academic and government research communities.

The UK Data Service provides access to the following primary data sources:

Study name



1968: A Student Generation in Revolt

1945 – 1985; Great Britain, Northern Ireland

Party politics
Political action
Political change
Student politics

1970 British Cohort Study

 1970-continuing; Great Britain

Political engagement
Voting behaviour
Contact with government officials
Opinions about politicians and political parties

British Election Study

1964 – 2015; Great Britain

Attitudes to the European Union
Beliefs and values
Contact with local politicians
Electoral issues
Political participation
Party identification and support
Political attitudes
Voting intentions

British Household Panel Survey

Annually 1991 – 2009 (longitudinal)
1991 – 2001: Great Britain
2001 – 2009: United Kingdom

Voting behaviour
Support for political parties
Opinions on government priorities
Political engagement

British Social Attitudes Survey

1983 - 2015; Great Britain

Attitudes to the European Union
Attitudes towards government
Electoral issues
Interest in politics
Political participation
Party identification

Citizenship Survey

2001 – 2011; England and Wales

Civic engagement

Electoral Reform and British Members of the European Parliament

1999 – 2004; Great Britain


British political parties
Electoral system
European Union
Political allegiance
Political attitudes Political change
Political representation

English Longitudinal Study of Ageing

1998- continuing (longitudinal); England

Voting behaviour
Membership of political parties

European Election Study

1989, 1994, 1999, 2004; multi-nation

European integration
Political attitudes Political behaviour
Political power
Political participation 
Voting behaviour

European Social Survey (ESS)

2002 - ongoing; c. 35 countries; repeated cross-sectional survey

European constitution
Party identification
Political attitudes Political behaviour
Political power
Political participation

European Values Study

Multi-year; multi-nation

Political allegiance
Political interest
Political participation

International Social Survey Programme (ISSP)

1985 – ongoing; c. 50 countries; repeated cross-sectional survey

Political attitudes

Longitudinal Study of Young People in England

2004-2010 (longitudinal); England

Attitudes towards politicians and political issues

National Child Development Study

1958 – continuing (longitudinal); Great Britain

Political engagement and participation
Voting behaviour
Opinions about politicians and political parties

OECD Social and Welfare Statistics

1980- 2015; country level data,

Better life statistics
Civic engagement
Consultation on rule making
Voter turnout

Understanding Society

Annually 2009 – continuing (longitudinal); United Kingdom

Interest in politics
Party identification
Party support
Voting intention

World Bank World Development Indicators

1960- continuing
country level data

Seats held by women in parliament

Other key data publishers

UK Statistics Authority

Data catalogue

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