Data in our collection

Our data collection includes major UK government-sponsored surveys, cross-national surveys, longitudinal studies, UK census data, international aggregate, business data, and qualitative data.

The tabs below also highlight data collections useful for students.

UK Surveys

Our data collection contains many key UK surveys including the British Social Attitudes (BSA) survey and the Labour Force Survey (LFS). These major surveys, many used for policy purposes, are designed by experts using tested methods of data collection.

How can we use survey data?

The high quality data from key UK surveys can be used for varied research projects:

  • representative samples allow national estimates such as rates of unemployment, crime or ill-health. Indeed, surveys such as the Crime Survey for England Wales are used to estimate official measures of crime.
  • major surveys get repeated regularly, allowing us to examine change over time. For example, the BSA provides over 30 years of data on the attitudes of the British public towards a wide range of social issues.
  • microdata, which means data at the level of individuals or households, allows us to examine patterns within a population such as how circumstances, attitudes and behaviours relate to gender, social class and age.
  • survey data covers a vast range of topics including family finances, housing, employment and health. 

Find out more

Find out more about UK surveys by exploring our key data and data by theme.

Some survey collections are complex; for example, data can be separated across multiple files, data may be coded using detailed schemes and you will need to user guides.

If new to survey data:

  • examining a single year of the British Social Attitudes Survey data can be an interesting place to start; for example, find out what percentage of the population support the death penalty?
  • you can also access major surveys online through Nesstar. Watch this video on how to download a subset of survey data using Nesstar, to analyse statistics for the BSA survey from 2011.

Using survey data

Our guide 'Using survey data' shows you the steps for starting your own research project using survey data. The guide has:

  • short webpages containing key information
  • worksheets for practical exercises.

This guide is intended for dissertation students but is suitable for anyone with little knowledge of quantitative research.

Other useful guides

These concise guides cover commonly used statistics software:

Most survey data needs to be weighted. See these guides for more information: 

Published reports and statistics

Key data and statistics from UK surveys can also be found is in reports and tables published by relevant agencies or government departments.

Qualitative data
UK Census data
International macrodata

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