The AMSR is delighted to welcome our first truly ‘modern’ collection, from Opinium – an agency founded in 2007, whose work reflects all the absorbing interests and attitudes of today’s society across consumer, social and business contexts.
Societies are the product of their past – including the recent past. The Archive of Market and Social Research strives to provide a continuous record of all the work of the research industry – not simply a static repository of documents from 30 or 50 years ago, so this new collection is of particular interest and relevance.
Today’s research for tomorrow’s historians
It’s vital that we as an industry preserve as much of our research as we can, so that social historians have a range of authentic material to work with in the future. We do not know what questions will be asked in 50 years’ time – but we do know that research represents the true voice of people, as we observe and measure all the complexity and depth of what people think and say and how they behave.
Opinium has contributed a collection of work done from 2017 – 2021. It includes social research such as ‘Diversity and Inclusion in Schools’ conducted for Pearson, and attitudinal data on a huge range of subjects such as Climate Change, Sustainable Fashion, Mental Well Being, Modern Slavery and the Gaming Industry – all of which will be of great potential value to future modern British historians. They might choose to pick out our lack of interest in sustainable fashion and repairing clothes (see ‘Fashion Fix’), or perhaps they’ll latch on to the way in which the energy market was structured in 2017 – before it all went wrong (see ‘Choice in the Energy Market’). Studies which perhaps didn’t seem so important at the time – on the Cashless Society, or the first segmentation study on Mobile Phone Owners, for example – but which it is fascinating to see now, with all the perspective of time.
A safe haven
The Opinium Collection is now preserved for posterity in the Archive. However, many agencies are systematically deleting studies which are more than seven years old, as the world changes more and more rapidly. It’s therefore essential that the AMSR is able to provide a safe, accessible and permanent home for such collections – there is so much to learn from history.
Opinium is a very good supporter of the Market Research industry in general – and of the Archive. We are very grateful for their support, notably for sponsoring our first two books, and look forward to building the ‘Opinium Collection’ for many years to come. We’re sure that many a student of modern British history will be grateful to us all!
The Opinium Collection can be browsed now in our searchable digital archive. Visit the Archive search page to find out what’s there, and what might be of interest or value to you.
Contributed by Phyllis Macfarlane, AMSR Chair of Content Committee
Date posted: 19th January 2022