The AMSR Newsletter

Every quarter we publish a fresh bulletin containing news about what’s new at the AMSR. Latest acquisitions, events, inspirational ways of using the resources, people in the news and a great deal more besides.

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Newsletter 12 – February 2019

29-01-19 Archive P1015780

A prestigious event held at the IPA in Belgrave Square on 29 January highlighted the success story of the Archive and its achievements since its inception. In addition to the speeches, attendees were able to see live online demonstrations of the Archive website and search the ever-growing material now available.

Click here for the full coverage of the event.


An Archive user interface team has been set up. We are very aware that some searches are highly complex and our aim is to make the search experience as straight forward as possible.

If you have any comments about using the Archive, please contact:


We continue to be excited by some of the rare and interesting material that is being collected for the Archive:

Report of an investigation on Pear’s Soap Consumer UK by J Walter Thomson 1925

Clothes Rationing Survey. An Interim Report prepared by Mass-Observation for the Advertising Service Guild. In Change No.1 Bulletin of the Advertising Service Guild, August 1941

Pollution and the oil industry and oil users. Taylor Nelson Survey 1973

The structure of entrapment: Dilemmas standing in the way of women managers and strategies to resolve these. An article by Charles Hampden-Turner in The Deeper News, a global business network publication, January 1994

Women: setting new priorities. Whirlpool Foundation Study. A study of Western European women’s views on work, family and society. Survey conducted by MORI, January 1996


March 2019 marks the 40th anniversary of the MRS conference presentation that brought geodemographics to the attention of a wide audience of market researchers.  This presentation introduced a new way of analysing and targeting consumers in any market.  So great was the interest in the new approach, that many regard this event as the commercial launch of geodems in the UK.

The 1979 conference paper – lodged in the Archive’s Geodemographics section – accurately prophesied many of the applications of geodems over subsequent decades.

It demonstrated the usefulness to marketers and advertisers of an area classification that had originally been developed in the public sector. A number of classification studies were conducted in the public domain during the 1970s, starting with regional projects and moving onto a national project in 1977.  Papers documenting some of these studies may be found in the Census and Geodemographics collections of the Archive, including those listed below.

The national classification was rapidly acquired by CACI and named ‘Acorn’.  An early Seminar on how to use Acorn took place in 1980 and may be found in the Archive – see
‘Acorn in action: Basic concepts, new services’ in the Geodemographics collection.  Reading the papers from the Seminar, it is fascinating to see that the principles of using geodems have not changed in 40 years – the only differences today are the speed at which results are now delivered and the latest applications, such as targeting online ads, which were undreamt of in 1980!

References – early area classification studies in the Archive:

Batey, P. and Butler, D.  Multivariate Analysis of the 1966 Census, 1972

Bermingham, J., Baker, K. and McDonald, C.  The utility to market research of the classification of residential neighbourhoods, MRS Conference, 1979.

Webber RJ. Liverpool social area study, 1971 Data. Centre for Environmental Studies; London, 1975.

Webber RJ. OPCS/CES Classification of Wards and Parishes in Great Britain,1977.


AMSR is now registered for ‘Give as you live’, an online fundraising platform for charities. The idea is that the charity can raise money through its supporters’ regular online shopping with no extra cost. In exchange for sending traffic to partners’ website to make purchases, they pay a commission, of which 50% is passed to charity.

The site has over 4,100 stores, including Amazon, and they cover shopping travel, utilities etc. You can view the stores at The donation rate depends on the store and can range from 1%-10% of the supporter’s shopping spend.

Supporting AMSR in this way does require an extra step in your online shopping activities. You have to visit the shop/business via the Give as you Live website for your shopping to be tracked and you have to register at Give as you Live and select AMSR as the charity you support. You then search for the store from which you want to shop (e.g. Amazon, M&S etc) If you click ‘Shop & Raise, it will take you to the site where you shop as normal. So next time you are shopping online, please remember AMSR.

Newsletter 11 – October 2018

Jeremy Bullmore and Ben Page

We are delighted that Ben Page and Jeremy Bullmore have agreed to be Patrons of the AMSR

Ben Page is Chief Executive of Ipsos MORI. He joined MORI in 1987 after graduating from Oxford University in 1986 and was one of the leaders of its first management buyout in 2000. A frequent writer and speaker on trends, leadership and performance management, he has directed thousands of surveys examining consumer trends and citizen behaviour.

He has been an immense support to the Archive, donating an ‘engine room’ in Ipsos MORI’s modern offices in Harrow, where the volunteers can sort, catalogue and scan the enormous amount of material AMSR is amassing. As well as enabling Committee members to hold meetings in convivial surroundings, Ben has given them access to his PR team, allowing them to benefit from professional advice and support.

Ben Page says: “In a fast moving world, it is all too easy to lose sight of important data from the relatively recent past that can help illuminate present trends, as well as the history of the research industry. The AMSR helps the industry, academics and journalists with both.”

Jeremy Bullmore CBE is a Member of the WPP Advisory Board. He began his career as a copywriter with J. Walter Thompson London, becoming Creative Director and finally Chairman. He was a non-executive director of both the Guardian Media Group and WPP and was also a long-time columnist for the Guardian, Campaign, Management Today and Market Leader.  He is a past President of The Market Research Society.

Jeremy Bullmore says, “It’s a matter of surprise, if not of shame, that no such archive already existed. For the intelligent historian, educator, journalist or politician, needing to know, in sensitive detail, how we’ve lived our lives for the last 70 years or so, AMSR contains an utterly priceless bounty of evidence”.


We will be holding an early evening event for sponsors and supporters at the IPA on Tuesday 29 January next year. The key speaker will be Rory Sutherland, Vice Chairman of Ogilvy UK and a regular columnist in The Spectator.

New site screen

Have you visited the website lately? It has been completely redesigned and relaunched and we hope you will become familiar with it, check out its fresh content and use it to access information and source material. A guide on ways of searching, navigating and downloading material in the digital Archive, to help users find most easily what they are looking for, is in preparation and will be uploaded to the landing page shortly.

The Archive is growing fast. Among the latest additions are:

  • A comprehensive collection of books and papers belonging to Andrew Ehrenberg from the South Bank University, with detailed data about the NPD theory.
  • Readership Research.  A personal memoir written for the 9th Worldwide Readership Symposium in Florence 1999. This memoir from Harry Henry takes us back to the beginnings of Readership Research in Britain, describing its early development. The concept of ‘recent readership’ which is discussed in the publication, appeared in print for the first in 1947. Harry Henry himself was the author of the term ‘replicated readership’.
  • Papers left by David Collins include a number of qualitative studies from the 1960s and 70s undertaken by The Psychological Research Group, mainly in the transport and hotel industries. One of these sought to capture the feelings of business executives to Concorde and their likelihood of using it, before its first scheduled flight; advantages were set against potential costs, and national pride at this exciting new technology was explored.
Give as you Live logo

AMSR is now registered for ‘Give as you live’, an online fundraising platform for charities. The idea is that the charity can raise money through its supporters’ regular online and offline shopping with no extra cost. In exchange for sending traffic to partners’ website to make purchases, they pay a commission, of which 50% is passed to charity.

The site has over 4,100 stores, including Amazon, and they cover shopping travel, utilities etc. You can view the stores at The commission rate depends on the store and can range from 1%-10% of the supporter’s shopping spend.

You can register for online shopping by going to and select Archive of Market and Social Research, using its full name.

Supporting AMSR in this way does require an extra step in your online shopping activities. You have to visit the shop/business via the Give as you Live website for your shopping to be tracked and you have to register at Give as you Live and select AMSR as the charity you support. You then search for the store from which you want to shop e.g. Amazon, M&S etc) If you click ‘Shop & Raise, it will take you to the site where you shop as normal. So next time you are shopping online, please remember AMSR. You can also order a storecard or download a barcode that can be used when you are buying in-store, as opposed to online.


Market Research Abstracts were launched in the late 1960s by the then Publications Committee of The Market Research Society to ensure that members of the Society were aware of the numerous articles and papers that were published about market and social research, both in UK publications and analogous overseas journals. The Abstracts were compiled twice a year by Phyllis Vangelder and covered articles and papers, each some 100-200 words, in the following areas: survey techniques; statistics, modelling and forecasting; attitude and behaviour research; psychographics; personality and social psychology; communications; advertising and media research; applications of research; industrial market research; market research and  general applications; and new product development.

The Abstracts were derived from the following UK journals and conference proceedings:

Admap; British Journal of Psychology; British Journal of Social Psychology; British Journal of Sociology; Human Relations; International Journal of Advertising; International Journal of Public Opinion Research; Journal of Industrial Economics; Journal of the Market Research Society; Journal of the Operational Society; Journal of the royal Statistical Society; Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics; Proceedings of the Market Research Society Conference; Statistical News.

In addition 16 important journals from the US, Canada and New Zealand, as well as ESOMAR’s Market and Research Today, were regularly used as sources for the Abstracts.

AMSR has an almost* complete collection from the late 1960s, ending with Volume 68, July-December 1997. There were two volumes each year and the scanned collection provides a fascinating overview of learning and commentary during the formative years of the industry.

*We are missing the following volumes and would be very grateful to receive copies of these: 1, 8, 12, 18, 30, 43, 44 and 58.  Please contact either Bryan Bates ( or Phyllis Vangelder (

WAPOR logo

Liz Nelson, Chairman of AMSR Board of Trustees, and Sir Robert Worcester, Founder Patron, presented important papers at the WAPOR Conference in Marrakesh last June. We highlight some of the salient points in their papers. Their powerful messages to an international audience of social and opinion researchers stressed the importance of trust and the relevance of archival collections.

Liz Nelson’s paper ‘Harness the past and present to help predict the future’ was particularly apposite.  She pointed out that WAPOR’s choice of change as the subject for this year’s Annual Conference allowed her to write about the need many researchers have for longitudinal data and archives of attitude and behavioural data.

Social and market researchers’ expertise in predicting change in behaviour and/or attitudes has been very mixed. She argued that predictions could be improved by taking a longer, historical view, and by proving to decision-makers and researchers that it is essential to harness the past and present to improve predictions.

Commercial researchers often have neither time nor inclination to refer to past data. Furthermore, to make matters worse, in the digital age, companies are increasingly destroying their historical data.

Her paper stressed the value of using historical data; to help those who are without archives to set one up; and to encourage owners of historical data to publicise that data and to overcome researchers’ desire or inclination to ‘reinvent the wheel’.

Social change

Exploring Social Change became a major issue in the 1960s: The Monitor by Yankelovich in the States; the International Institute of Social Change, (RISC) followed in the ’70s ; then Eurobarometer and many others.  The professional organisation in the UK, the Market Research Society, celebrated its 70th anniversary last year.   There was, however, no national archive of either social or market research in the UK.

Liz traced the development of the Archive and Liz traced the development of the Archive and used data from Ipsos MORI sexual harassment surveys to show that was not a new issue. Indeed, sexual harassment is a very old one, clouded in the past by prevailing social norms – norms that are now changing dramatically.

Liz also used Archival data to show where prediction has proved correct and very powerful.  There is strong evidence that predictions about generational differences in attitudes and behaviour would lead to huge differences in how to communicate to and how to market to them.  And those predictions have been successfully incorporated into corporate, political party and public service organisation thinking. She cited the successful understanding of differences in millennials (today’s 20s to 35s) and among baby boomers (today’s 55s to 70s).  Past data predicted the present and will predict the future with these generational differences.

Perhaps two of the biggest changes we have seen in recent years relate to decreasing trust in establishments and to increasing dependence on new technology.


All institutions – political parties, governments, local councils, charities, NHS, can build trust by meeting new expectations,  of security above all, but also transparency, dependability, and fulfilment.  She cited a recent optimistic Delphi Report to illustrate the ability of technology to increase public trust: ‘Technology can provide security and protection’.

If technology can make it possible for brands to be open and vulnerable, by sharing more information with customers, surely the same applies to public organisations and government institutions

Whether we are citizens or chief executives, we regularly feel out of control, unable to keep up, or vulnerable to fake news. But we need data; we need to preserve materials from the past to help us become better at predicting the direction and nature of change. And technology can increase trust.  And above all, researchers should realise that successful predictions from trend data must be publicised, must be acknowledged by business and marketing teachers and by all decision makers,

Liz Nelson concluded by stating what she has learned from the Archive. No change over time is as important to decision makers as significant change; researchers need reminders of the past data; populism entails a diminution of trust in established systems – advertisers have the savvy to keep levels of trust high; and crucially, if your office is moving, don’t allow anyone to destroy old records.

As brands become open and allow themselves to be vulnerable by sharing more information, public bodies, media and governments should learn the strength of  transparency,    Over time data collected 10, 20, 30, 60s years can become more valuable. Free access to past data is vital along with preserving present data for the future.

Her concluding anecdote pointed to the human value of archival collections. Recently there was a most wonderful find in the Bodleian Library. The earliest-known book dust wrapper was found in its Bodleian collections. Dating from 1829, it protected a finely-bound gift book entitled Friendship’s Offering.

Click here to download a copy of Liz Nelson’s paper.

Who trusts the pollsters?

The paper by Sir Robert Worcester, co-presented with Roger Mortimore and Mark Gill, underlined the issue of trust, focusing particularly on polls.

In examining how much the public trusts pollsters, they questioned whether trust in pollsters was linked to trust in other groups, and examined the evidence of declining trust, presenting data after poor election predictions and interrogating the nature of distrust.

They tested the following hypotheses:

  • Pollsters are less trusted than they used to be
  • Pollsters are less trusted relative to other professions than they used to be
  • Pollster are less trusted when ‘failed’ election predictions are fresh in the memory
  • Distrust in pollsters is associated with political leanings
  • Distrust in pollsters is associated with readership of particular newspapers (perhaps with an anti-polling editorial slant).

Detailed findings from survey data showed that pollsters are still more widely trusted than distrusted in Britain.  Trust is highest among the groups who are the most knowledgeable or take an interest in politics.

There is currently slightly more distrust of pollsters than usual in Great Britain, but this is not a weakening of existing trust, more an increase of distrust among those who had no opinion. The results indicated that newspaper coverage is probably not an important direct cause and suggest that any political aspect is probably populist vs establishment rather than right vs left.

Click here to download a copy of Sir Robert Worcester, Roger Mortimore and Mark Gill’s paper.

Newsletter 10 – June 2018


We are delighted and very proud that Professor Denise Lievesley CBE has accepted the Trustees’ invitation to be the first President of the Archive of Market and Social Research.

Denise Lievesley took up her role as Principal of Green Templeton College in October 2015. Before going to Oxford, she was Executive Dean of the Faculty of Science and Public Policy and Professor of Social Statistics at King’s College, London.

Formerly she has been Chief Executive of the English Health and Social Care Information Centre, Director of Statistics at UNESCO and Director of the UK Data Archive. While Director of the Data Archive, she was also Professor of Research Methods at the University of Essex. Denise has served as President of the Royal Statistical Society, President of the International Statistical Institute and the International Association for Official Statistics.

She was for many years a member of the MRS’ Technical and Development Committee, responsible for convening and chairing a very important MRS Seminar on Response.

Her research interests relate broadly to the quality and trust in official data, and the use of professionally-collected data for research purposes.

Professor Lievesley’s appointment is a perfect fit, enabling us to have her experience and expertise to support us: her election will undoubtedly bring increased status to AMSR’s standing in the academic and business worlds. We hope too that this will be a synergy, and that Green Templeton College will benefit from the Archive’s collection of social research and history, and data collection methodology, particularly since our Archive will be a portal to other academic and commercial archives.

We hope to include an interview with Professor Lievesley in our next Newsletter.

New site screen

Paul Edwards writes:

We have just introduced a new design for our AMSR website Thanks to the efforts of Kirsty Fuller and Joly Zou working with web designers Onepoint, you will see an exciting new face for the archive.

The new design is fresher, more visual and easier to navigate.  It has an enhanced case study section which provides a showcase for the rich material within the archive.  The front page highlights recently added articles or newly acquired material and so is worth more frequent visits.

There are still details of how to donate, volunteer or sponsor.  And of course, you can still click straight through to the archive itself from any page of the website.

Do take a look and let us know what you think.  Most importantly share the website with your network so the archive can grow more quickly. If you have any problems or comments please send them to The website address is www.

treasure box

Colin McDonald oversees the cataloguing of the Archive

We are especially pleased to have on file a copy of the Hulton Readership Survey of 1949 – the very first English readership survey, with commentary by Jim Hobson and Harry Henry and designed by Mark Abrams. This copy was presented to us by Ron Carpenter, who years ago rescued it from a skip at a time when the Mirror Group were moving offices. It is an impressive document, mega folio size, and a challenge to photograph, but thanks to the help of MORI’s photography department we have managed it, and it can be read in full on the website.

We have now received over 600 books: these include the libraries of Paul Harris and Martin Collins, who both sadly passed away during 2017, and many contributions from other donors. They contain a very large collection of statistical and methodological books relevant to research, going back to the 1950s.

The Market Research Abstracts were published twice a year from 1963 to 1997 and contain abstracts of papers from a wide range of journals and other sources relevant to research. The Abstracts can be viewed in full on the Archive’s website.

British Public Opinion was published by MORI (Market and Opinion Research International), the company founded by Sir Robert Worcester, from 1979 to 2003. These highly detailed journals contain a mass of information from polls and surveys giving a fascinating insight into the political topics of the time. We are grateful to Sir Robert Worcester for making these journals available to the Archive.


We are immensely grateful to Geoffrey Roughton who oversees the Pulse Train Legacy, for the gift of an additional scanner.

Quiz Red 3D

Peter Bartram writes:

At this year’s MRS Conference the MRS kindly provided a place for the AMSR to display its wares and tell passers-by about its development and current scope.  In addition to a large banner, a laptop providing access to the AMSR website, and various pieces of promotional literature, considerable interest was shown in a simple one-page quiz devised by Geoff Wicken, which contained five research-related questions. The winner was to be offered a bottle of champagne and £100, both donated by a leading AMSR supporter, Kirsty Fuller.

The quiz was completed by 41 conference delegates and, with nobody answering all questions correctly, an interesting picture emerged of their historical misperceptions. Faye Banks of Lloyds Banking Group made only one error, and was revealed to all delegates as the winner by an announcement during the final full session of the conference.

All questions were based on material to be found in the AMSR archive, and looking at the results from the 41:

  • People were asked to say whether they thought overall satisfaction with the NHS, at 63% in 2016, is higher or lower than it was 20 years ago, as measured by the annual British Social Attitudes Survey. Most incorrectly assumed there has been a decline in satisfaction with the NHS, and only 27% guessed that in 1998 it was at exactly the same 63% level as in 2016.
  • It was not very surprising that few could recall the 1983 general election predictions and results which were contained in the MORI British Public Opinion Report at the time. We asked which party’s support was inflated by the (relatively new) telephone polling method. Most seemed to assume a slightly up-market sampling method would inflate the reported Tory support. In fact, it was support for the Liberal/ SDP Alliance which these polls over-inflated, and only 37% correctly recognised this.
  • Early TGI Reports now in the archive reveal that in the 1960s as many as 47% of adults were ‘doing the pools’ and this had decreased to 28% by 1992, their further decline no doubt hastened by the birth of the National Lottery. People were asked in the quiz to say whether the pools still exist or if so, the current percentage using them. Only 39% correctly guessed that 3% use the pools nowadays, and as many as 54% thought they no longer exist.
  • Finally, in the MRS Newsletters of 1983, it was proudly announced that an MRS Member, George Vassilliou, had become Prime Minister of a Mediterranean country. Of the three options offered in the quiz, 27% said it was Greece, 34% that it was Malta, and only 39% correctly recalled it was Cyprus. George had run the successful Middle East Marketing Research Bureau (MEMRB) and older MRS Members were less likely to forget this, having met or seen him at various MRS and ESOMAR Conferences at around that time.

Altogether, this little exercise in collective memories and facts has illustrated the variety of information contained within the AMSR, and has shown that it can correct many misperceptions of the marketing and social realities of life in the UK. Any current researcher keen to show knowledge of developing markets and social environments will do well to use it, the better to inform their future.


AMSR now has a firm structure, as required by the Charities Commission.


Trustee Board

Chairman: Dr  Liz Nelson OBE
Secretary:  Ian Brace
Peter Bartram
Bryan Bates
John Downham
Jane Frost
Raz Khan
Judie Lannon
Simon Patterson
Adam Phillips
Phyllis Vangelder 

Executive Committee

Chairman:  Adam Phillips
Vice Chairman: Peter Bartram
Treasurer:  Raz Khan
Ian Brace
Bryan Bates
Phyllis Vangelder

Administrator: Gill Wareing

Other busy committees cover Marketing, Contents, Governance and Finance.

We wish to ensure that every sector of market and social research is included in the Archive. We have teams of Special Advisors covering Social Research, Qualitative Research and other specialist areas. Please get in touch with Bryan Bates, Chairman of the Contents Committee if you can help us in searching for relevant material in specific sectors e.g. central and local government research, children’s research, retail, travel, finance, motoring etc.

AMSR is supported by an extremely efficient and hardworking volunteer team of cataloguers and scanners headed by Sue Nosworthy, Pam Walker and John Kelly. They are always in need of additional help, so if you have a few hours a month to spend in very convivial company, please contact one of the above. You will be made very welcome in the ‘engine room’ kindly donated by Ipsos MORI in Harrow. (It is very easily accessible, just opposite Harrow-on-the Hill Station on the Metropolitan  line and the central Harrow Bus Station).

Newsletter 9 – January 2018


What’s in this issue:

Over the last few months, we have received a gratifying number of additions to the Archive and the mammoth task of reviewing, scanning, cataloguing and putting their data on our online system is in full swing.

In addition to summary reports, which are already in the Archive, we are getting all historic records of TGI. We have also received, inter alia, more precious books from the Paul Harris Collection and material from the late Martin Collins.

We have been offered the MORI Archive and have begun reviewing and scanning this – a huge task as they have some 32,000 files stored at their warehouse in Northampton. As a pilot project, we are reviewing 47 boxes. Bryan Bates, Chairman of the Contents Committee, has written an article about the mammoth but interesting task.

We also have an article from Barry Leventhal who has worked unstintedly on reviewing and sorting Census and Geodemographics material.

Raz Khan brings us up-to date with news on the online Archive. It is still in a Beta state, but we hope you will experiment with it and let us have feedback about its use.


Raz Khan writes:

It’s very interesting how important nomenclature can be, especially when you move into an area outside of your personal expertise. When we first started looking for a system to house our archive, our searches kept presenting us with document management systems, which are aimed at companies who digitise all their paperwork, and happen to be extremely expensive.

It was only when we stumbled across library management in an alternative search that we discovered a whole new world, and of course, like any discovery, it seemed so obvious in retrospect. There are many individuals and organisations holding small specialist archives who want to make them available to the wider world via the internet. After some investigation of the field we settled on a product called ContentDM from OCLC, the Online Computer Library Centre. It offers an excellent starting point for our archive and is very competitively priced.

The online archive complements our physical archive of materials held at The History of Advertising Trust (HAT) in Norfolk. Interested people can visit HAT to see the original documents and enjoy the feel and smell of old (and not so old) paper. However the online archive can help users understand what we have and identify documents of interest. In many cases we have the complete documents scanned but for copyrighted items such as books and some journals we are only permitted to scan the cover and contents pages. In such cases the originals can be studied at HAT.

Thanks to our brilliant team of scanners we now have a large number of documents online. These include MORI’s British Public Opinion, a fascinating record of political polling, and the key MRS publications: Survey, The MRS Newsletter and Research Magazine.

The documents are scanned for text as part of the publication process so you can search the archive and it will present items that contain your search. While it might seem frivolous you can search for yourself and see the articles you may have had published, the job changes you made and the adverts in which you were mentioned. It can provide a fascinating timeline.

However the archive will more likely be of benefit to those looking to investigate the development of techniques (read Barry Leventhal’s article on the Geodemographics section to see how this now widely accepted technique was quite controversial at the time) or those who want to understand how the industry developed. I doubt anyone in the 1950s anticipated the global players that now exist, or the broader footprint that insight now encompasses.

So please feel free to look at our online archive and see how far it has come; it will continue to grow as we collect material in the months and years to come. And of course please send us your feedback to help us improve what we’re offering.

The archive can be seen at

Please send any feedback to


Bryan Bates, Chairman of the Contents Committee writes:

While a significant number of leading research suppliers have already destroyed their own back history, there are still many which hold copies of research studies going back a number of years. One of the objects of the AMSR is to retrieve documents like these, store them safely for future generations and make them accessible for study now by anyone with an interest in the development of research since the mid-1950s or even earlier.

Many such projects were conducted on a one-off basis, but some have been repeated or set up to run on a continuous basis. In most cases these reports are languishing in cellars and store cupboards to which few people have access. Indeed, it is often the case that the companies owning these documents may not even themselves know exactly what they hold.

One such data owner which has now donated a great deal of information to our Archive is Ipsos MORI. We have been granted access to the MORI data store which covers a vast range of research studies and we have permission to reproduce a selection of these and make them available on our website. There are some 32,000 items for us to consider and it will take quite some time for us to sift through all of them to select those which seem likely to be of general interest. We have made a start on reproducing them, and before long we shall be adding the ones we have selected to our website. Archive users will thus be able to access many reports which until now have been locked away from view.

MORI is not the only company co-operating with us in this way and we shall be adding selected data from many other organisations in the future. So, anyone willing to contribute data in this way is encouraged to contact us so that we can discuss the options.


Barry Leventhal writes:

Next year marks the 40th anniversary of the MRS conference presentation that brought geodemographics to the attention of a wide audience of market researchers.  Therefore it is appropriate that the Archive includes a section for materials documenting geodemographic developments, products and solutions which should be of great interest to many current researchers.

A number of early papers are on their way into the Archive – this update identifies some of those from the early days, going back to projects from the 1970s that underpinned the development of area classifications.

In the UK, much of this work was being carried out in the 1970s by Richard Webber, while at the Centre for Environmental Studies (CES).  Webber’s projects progressed from regional studies to national studies and from large area to small area classifications.

For example, an early regional project was the Liverpool Social Area Study (1975) which is being included in the Archive.

A couple of years later, this was followed by the first national classifications, which were joint projects between the Office of Population Censuses and Surveys (OPCS) and CES.

A series of national classifications were produced at different levels of geography, and the Archive will include example results for the segmentation of wards and parishes, based on 40 variables from the 1971 Census.  These clusters were then amalgamated to form seven ‘families’ – the Archive document demonstrates their performance and maps their occurrence in different parts of the country.

This classification was the forerunner of ACORN; its utility to market research was examined by Ken Baker, John Bermingham and Colin McDonald in their 1979 MRS Conference paper. They identified the enormous potential of the technique as a market research tool, and so this moment is generally regarded as the launch of the geodemographics industry.

However, the classification did not go unchallenged – in 1980, Stan Openshaw and colleagues published a critique of the national classifications, pointing out that the results were highly dependent upon the methods used and decisions taken during the classification process.

Richard Webber very swiftly wrote a response to this critique; both the critique and the response are being included in the Archive.

The new classification was acquired by CACI and rebranded ACORN – the Archive will include CACI reports and documentation from the early 80s.

The mid-80s was a period of great activity in the industry amongst the commercial companies which exploited the new technique.  The academics responded with their own classification in 1985, launching SuperProfiles – their paper, to be found in the Archive, describes it as ‘A poor man’s ACORN’.

And so the geodemographics industry, which will be 40 years old next year, was born – key steps in its conception will be found in the Archive.

References to papers in the Archive:

Webber RJ. Liverpool social area study, 1971 Data. Centre for Environmental Studies; London: 1975. PRAG Technical Paper 14.

Webber RJ. OPCS/CES Classification of Wards and Parishes in Great Britain, 1977.

Webber RJ. Parliamentary constituencies : a socio-economic classification.

Office of Population Censuses and Surveys, 1978.

Occasional paper – Office of Population Censuses and Surveys ; 13.

Openshaw S, Cullingford D, Gillard A. A critique of the national classifications of OPCS/PRAG. Town Planning Review. 1980;51 (4):421.

Webber RJ. A response to the critique of the national classifications of OPCS/PRAG. The Town Planning Review. 1980;51 (4):440–50.

Charlton ME, Openshaw S, Wymer C. Some new classifications of census enumeration districts in Britain: A poor man’s ACORN. Journal of Economic and Social Measurement. 1985;13:69–96.


Robin Birn writes:

Positioning AMSR

Progress has been made with the research the Executive Committee requested to understand the best ways to position AMSR and help implement its development strategy.  The research has been carried out with commercial and social research companies, research commissioners, academics working in marketing and research, media users of research findings and charities that support social research or might support a research archive.

The research has confirmed that the concept of an archive such as the AMSR is thought to be what the market research industry should have.  Research companies acknowledge that the content could be useful for their executives in their companies for proposal and report writing, helping to demonstrate their command of relevant techniques and markets.

But the research has also found that academics are the most enthusiastic: they talk about it as their ‘raw material’, which currently cannot be accessed via libraries and online subscription services.  Academics expect the Archive to be helpful for suggesting themes for PhD theses, project work and even to develop new educational programmes as demand increases for Business Courses, apart from inspiring their own books and papers.

Further research will be carried out as the AMSR Executive Committee develops and refines its strategy and more audiences are evaluated as opportunities for the Archive – new findings will be reported in future Newsletters.

Some of the things Senior Lecturers at Southampton and Birkbeck Universities said:

“It’s the idea of the social history of Britain sitting in one place, not just of opinions themselves but also the art and craft of understanding opinion, particularly in the light of the current focus on opinion polls”.

“The idea of an archive is a good one, given that that a meaningful record of the industry is almost completely absent from the business archives. Also, as the industry has been such a touchpoint for so many key aspects of social and commercial life in the UK I would imagine that there are some interesting stories to tell”.


Geoff Wicken is producing fascinating data from TGI which highlight attitudes about current concerns. Long-term trend analysis ot TGI data, including the data held by AMSR, lets us see how consumer behaviour has evolved and how it will continue to do so.

Sexual Harassment

Inappropriate behaviour in some high-profile environments is headline news today, but it has long been a matter of concern.  25 years ago in 1992, the vast majority of the public had a clear view about what constituted sexual harassment. There was little disagreement about what was problematic, even though in those days, it was tolerated.  Close to 90% of both female and male workers considered both sexual innuendos and inappropriate physical contact to be sexual harassment.

The survey was conducted by MORI in September 1992 for the General Municpal Boilermakers’ Union (GMB) as part of its campaign to raise the level of the problem of sexual harassment in the workplace.


Generational differences are sometimes considered one of the fault lines in Britain today. The the predicament of Millennials is much discussed as a societal and political challenge.

Examination of research data from TGI confirms that the position of today’s 20-34 year-olds is indeed worse in important ways than that of their equivalents of 30 years ago.  Furthermore it allows us to understand the scale of the challenge in informed and comparative terms.

Today just 36% of Millennials (defined as being aged 20-34) own their own home – be it outright or with a mortgage.  In 1987 fully 64% of 20-34s did.  Increases in the costs of purchasing property have had the very significant effect that 55% are renting their homes compared with 33% of 20-34s in 1987.


More details of these surveys are on our website,


As more and more people from the industry become involved with AMSR, we realise a community is growing: we are taking immense pleasure in renewing our friendships with previous colleagues. We have a wonderful team of scanners and cataloguers, spearheaded by Sue Nosworthy. But we will always welcome those wish to join the volunteer teams. On the Contents Committee we should particularly like to hear from specialists in specific product or service areas who would like to collect and review material on, for instance, travel, product testing, motoring, finance. Contact: Bryan Bates (; Phyllis Vangelder (, or Sue Nosworthy (


Here are some of the good things people are already saying about the AMSR:

“The birth of AMSR should be greeted not just with polite enthusiasm, but with something approaching joy. It will inform, delight, inspire and illumine all those who are intelligent enough to use it”. (Jeremy Bullmore, non-Executive Director WPP and Past President of The Market Research Society)

“By showing what has gone before, an archive can help us avoid wasting time on reinventing techniques that have been used before. It allows us to build on our predecessors’ experience – to see what worked, and equally importantly, what didn’t!

Also, by holding data on many markets over time, we can see how those markets developed – which brands survived, and which didn’t – and importantly why.” (Dame Dianne Thompson, former CEO of Camelot Group and past President of the MRS)

“I’m sure there must be a business opportunity for brand agencies or consultants or researchers to routinely explore the AMSR archive on behalf of their clients – unless, of course, the clients are smart enough to do it themselves ….” (Paul Feldwick, leading author and consultant on brands, advertising and corporate strategy)

An archive of market research offers us, in principle, insights into all aspects of human life – what people ate, what they wore, the way they talked, the ways they amused themselves, travelled, communicated, lived, loved and died”. (Paul Feldwick)

Newsletter 8 – October 2017


The archive is ready to go live

After two years of unstinting effort by its many supporters, the Archive is at last becoming a solid reality, with an impressive range of research material accessible to all. Over recent months, this has been made possible by a flow of volunteers, reviewing, scanning and cataloguing the wealth of material coming into the dedicated room so generously provided by Ipsos MORI at their offices in Harrow.

 The AMSR Core Collection

By the end of October we expect to have the basic ‘crown jewels’ of market and social research material safely housed with the History of Advertising Trust (HAT) under controlled conditions, and visible on the internet. This includes:

  • almost complete sets of the Newsletter and Research Magazine (there are still some missing, see below),
  • complete sets of Commentary, the Journal of The Market Research Society, and Market Research Development Fund publications,
  • Survey Magazine, the Interviewer Newssheet and a complete set of the Market Research Abstracts.
    In addition, we have invaluable collections such as:

from Marie Alexander, mostly on social survey methods,
from Paul Harris, on statistics (see Ken Baker’s article below),
from Gerald Goodhardt, covering the seminal work he and Andrew Ehrenberg conducted at Aske Research and the South Bank University.
in the qualitative sector we are promised the Mary and John Goodyear Collection and Peter Cooper’s vast amount of CRAM material.

Target Group Index material

We also hold the ‘25th Anniversary of TGI’ trend reports that were published in 1993, which include top-line year-by-year category data from 1969 to 1993. Links to complete TGI data are being explored. Meanwhile Geoff Wicken whets our appetite below with data from a 2017 TGI survey on football watching behaviour.

The Abstracts

The Abstracts cover every article and paper dating back from the ’60s on the following: survey techniques; statistics, models and forecasting; attitude and behaviour research; psychographics, personality and social psychology; communications, advertising and media research; applications of research; industrial market research; market research and general applications and new product development.

Continuous Media Audience Surveys

We are building links to industry continuous measurement surveys including:

  • TGI; BARB (previously JICTAR); RAJAR. (Radio Joint Audience Research), BBC Audience Research; BARB (previously JICTAR);
  • JICNARS (Joint Industry Committee for National Readership Surveys) is now defunct, but PAMCo (Publishers Audience Measurement Company) took over from the NRS in January 2016 and will start publishing data as AMP in 2018. We shall thereby have links to the all-important NRS back data.

Geodemographic and Census Data

We have now signed a contract with Content DM, whereby all our data will be online and searchable. Where possible, we will scan it before it goes to HAT. With the help of Barry Leventhal we are amassing a great deal of geodemographic and census material, much of which is already digitised, and this will be searchable on the system.


In the case of books we are scanning the title and contents pages before they go to HAT and already have hundreds of books on social and market research. They include classics such as Stanley Payne’s The art of asking questions first published in 1951 by Princeton University Press and Why do buses come in threes? The hidden mathematics of everyday life by Bob Eastaway and Jeremy Wyndham, with its intriguing chapters on e.g. ‘How many people watch Coronation Street? From potato crisps to snooker balls, from card tricks to insurance, from code-breaking to bus-waiting everything on this book reminds us of the importance of mathematics. It is indicative of the full range of the Archive, which covers the whole gamut of life collected and interpreted by professional researchers.

Who is it for?

This preliminary listing is just like dipping a toe in the water to illustrate the richness of material that is becoming available in this unique archive, which will be available to everyone including research practitioners, academic staff and students, journalists, and even the general public.


The archive could not happen without our army of dedicated volunteers. We are immensely grateful to Sue Nosworthy who organises the wonderful teams of people who go regularly to Harrow to scan the vast amount material stacked in boxes and on marked shelves: Pam Walker; Christine Eborall; Sheila Robinson; Paddy Costigan; Mike Fernie, Kay Garmeson; and Ed Newton.

Led by Bryan Bates, the experienced Content Review Team consisting of Ken Baker, Peter Bartram, Colin McDonald, Jim Rothman and Phyllis Vangelder, has the often difficult task of deciding what goes into the Archive and what does not. Everyone does some cataloguing (always referring to Colin McDonald who has masterminded our system of coding the diverse material).  Felicity Fitzgerald is also helping with cataloguing, and increasingly many of the scanners are doing this too.

More Volunteers Still Needed

We would welcome more volunteers with open arms. AMSR now has daily access to the room at Ipsos MORI during office hours and people are welcome to come regularly or at ad hoc intervals. After a brief training session, the work is straightforward, and they usually work in teams of two or three and break for convivial lunches at a nearby pub or coffee house. The work is not intellectually demanding, but it is satisfying and fun to work with like-minded colleagues on such a worthwhile project. If you would like to join in this, please do contact us via our website.


The Archive has been delighted to receive some 100 learned tomes and a large collection of seminal papers and journals from that wonderful teacher of statistical matters in research, Paul Harris. These are of undying value to anyone concerned to know how MR Statistics should be taught or learned. The size of the collection has put most of his fellow ‘stattos’ to shame, but not to worry too much, — not all of Paul’s exhibits have thumb marks on them!

Contained within the collection is that excellent introductory volume of thoughts on sampling and statistics by Hague and Harris. It is essential reading for all researchers new to, or only lightly acquainted with, the range of sampling techniques, distributions and appropriate significance tests available to the researcher. I am sure readers will be overjoyed to find that this volume is also available in Russian and Swedish, such is the ‘global’ impact of this work. The Collection spans virtually the whole range of tools available for the analysis of data, covering experimental design, a variety of multivariate analysis techniques, an evaluation of various methods of attitude scaling, and papers on individual research sectors e.g. readership research.

All this and Turing too

Perhaps the hidden jewel in the collection is a paper written in the late ’40s by one L. Fox entitled ‘Practical methods for solutions to linear equations’. This somewhat daunting title relates to matrix algebra, the underlying maths behind factor and principal component analysis often used to make sense of and summarise attitude batteries. To our delight we found the paper referred to the work of a certain gentleman named Alan Turing. To help him understand the Turing methodology, Paul attached some handwritten notes in which he is trying to solve some complex mathematical problem using Turing method. Needless to say, nobody has tried to check Paul’s calculations, but we assume Paul cracked the problem – he usually did, bless him.

Thank you so much Paul.


One of our AMSR trustees has recently been honoured by the Marketing Society. Judie Lannon, the founding editor of Market Leader, is now an Honorary Fellow of the Marketing Society. This is announced in Issue 4 of the journal October 2017. We are very grateful that, when she was interviewed for the Journal, she gave our archive a plug. “I’m a trustee of the Archive of Market and Social Research and we’re trying to archive all this wonderful research from the past, from consumer studies to opinion polls, and qualitative research from Peter Cooper’s archive. This ground-breaking work needs to be saved and people will find it has utility”.


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