Contribute material

How do I contribute material?

If you have any material that you think ought to be in the archive, please download and fill this form, (PDF version available here) and email it to  (Contacts: Phyllis Macfarlane and Phyllis Vangelder).

This page describes the kind of material we’re seeking to add to the archive, and also answers some FAQs about confidentiality.

What are we actually looking for?

Market Research has been identified as one of the 50 things that made the modern economy, and the role of the Archive is to preserve all the materials which demonstrate the detail of how the industry came about and developed in the post-war years. Broadly we are looking for any reports, articles and papers you have on market and social research that will be helpful to future generations to understand the impact that research had on modern life:

In particular we welcome documents covering:

  • The technical developments which have underpinned the credibility and success of the market and social research industry. Papers on scales or weighting, or comparisons of quota vs random sampling, or telephone vs face-to-face interviewing, or online vs other methods of sampling. Or new ways of measurement, the effect of technology on our approaches both quantitative and qualitative. Many of us have been through much methodological change – we all did experiments to prove the value (or otherwise) – lets make our work available for future social researchers, historians and academics – to learn from our thinking.
  • The project findings and impact of research from across the broad range of client industries, enabling us to track developments in their markets, plus social studies which provide a picture of the way we have lived as a nation. In particular we welcome qualitative research  studies which tell us how people were thinking and reacting to new products and change in general.
  • The evolution of standards and codes of conduct which have guided our practitioners and protected the industry from ethical and operational criticisms.
  • We wish to safeguard the future of the Archive by establishing Modern collections, and in particular material relating to research conducted concerning the 2020 Covid pandemic; research on Diversity, Inclusivity and Equality; and research relating to Brexit.  To find out more about our Modern collections, please see our news item here.

In general, we would like anything that Academics, Students, Historians of all kinds will find interesting in the future.

Think of all the changes in our society, culture, and simply in the way we live that have occurred in the last 70+ years – market research was involved in guiding many of them. The development of food and retail, improved services everywhere, the impact of technology on our lives (mobile phones were only launched in the mid 1980s!). It is interesting to see what we got right and what wrong! And the market research industry’s response to the demand for more information – that too is interesting. What guided the adoption of new methods?  Papers on the history of the industry will always be welcome.


What about confidentiality?

The issues of client confidentiality are twofold. Firstly, who owns the Intellectual Property (IP) of the document in question, and secondly the issue of client confidentiality.

In the case of the ownership of the IP – this should in most cases be the Agency that did the work and produced the document. However in some instances Agencies will have signed contracts with particular Clients, which specified that the Client retained all IP. If you own the IP then you have the right to sign the document over to the Archive. If you believe that the Client owns the IP, then you need the client’s permission. However in many cases the Client may no longer exist, so permission cannot be sought or given. If this is the case but you feel that the document is an important part of MR history, and should be preserved,  then you can give the document to the Archive and we will take responsibility for getting permission from the client, or a representative of the client, or, if this does not prove possible, then we will not make the document public until a specified time from the date of authorship has passed. (We suggest 30 years – but you may wish to specify a longer period, if you prefer).

The second issue is that of client confidentiality. Even if you own the IP of the document, you may feel that it is sensitive in some way, or that you are bound to respect client confidentiality for ever. In which case you should seek the client’s permission – or pass it to the Archive with the caveat that we will obtain permission – or embargo the document until a specified amount of time has passed. We feel it is better to preserve all the documents we can, even if they are not made public for many years, rather than lose them forever.

if you have any concerns about whether you should donate some, or all, of the material you would like us to preserve, please contact Phyllis Macfarlane or Phyllis Vangelder.

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