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Centre for Social Survey Transformation

The Centre for Social Survey Transformation exists to make social research surveys more flexible, responsive and efficient. Watch this webinar for an introduction to the Centre.

The majority of high-quality surveys in the UK are administered face-to-face. However, falling response rates, changing societal expectations and rising costs mean that survey commissioners and methodologists are increasingly looking towards more agile and affordable data collection methods.

But switching approaches or implementing mixed-mode designs involves complex trade-offs regarding representation, measurement, respondent experience, time and cost, which are rarely understood. We can help you to understand these trade-offs.

Our work

We are a team of survey research specialists who work with survey commissioners to design social research solutions that meet their specific research needs. By using well-established techniques based on a deep understanding of the research literature, and placing emphasis on empirical evidence, we provide a clear, systematic process for evaluating survey designs and generating evidence around social survey transformation.

The Centre for Social Survey Transformation has a particular focus on transitioning surveys from face-to-face to web-first or mixed-mode designs. Our work is informed by the following principles:

  • We are methodologically neutral
  • We are guided by empirical evidence
  • We provide clear, impartial summaries and recommendations
  • We put the survey respondent at the heart of what we do

Explore our aims and objectives to find out more.

Methods

The National Centre for Social Research (NatCen) work with government departments, other public sector bodies, academics and charities. We deliver high-quality quantitative research solutions which are bespoke to each project, ensuring that the information required to answer given research questions is collected in the most robust and efficient way.

We are able to offer the whole suite of quantitative research methods in-house, including face-to-face, online, telephone and postal methods.

In recent years there has been a growing demand for push-to-web and mixed-mode designs. Push-to-web surveys were first popularised by Don Dillman in his book The Tailored Design Method (Dillman, 2000). NatCen was the first body in the UK to test push-to-web methods with a prototype version of the European Social Survey in 2012.

Since then, a number of formats of push-to-web surveys have been developed to meet different research needs. These designs vary in a number of significant ways that have implications for representation, measurement, respondent experience, time and cost. We can adapt across these formats and give expert advice on the most appropriate way to meet specific research requirements.

Fig 1 outlines examples of the type of push-to-web survey we offer, from a simple push-to-web design – in which a random sample of addresses is drawn and letters are sent to each one giving details of how to complete the survey online – to designs with one or more additional modes of completion to ensure those who are less able to complete a survey online are able to take part.

Figx

Fig 1

Find out more and view some recent examples of our work delivering push-to-web and web-first surveys.

 

  • Core team

    The Centre for Social Survey Transformation is a hub which brings together experts from across NatCen to develop and share knowledge on how to transform surveys. Its work is led by a core management team.

    Peter Cornick, Director, Centre for Social Survey Transformation

    Shanna Christie, Research Director

    Shane Howe, Senior Researcher

  • Get in touch

    To find out more about our work, how we can help you transform your social research, please call 0207 549 9584 or email new-business@natcen.ac.uk.

  • Approach to transformation

    By using well-established techniques based on a deep understanding of the research literature, and placing emphasis on empirical evidence, we have developed the REMoDEL approach. This provides a clear, systematic process for transforming social surveys and generating robust evidence around the trade-offs involved.

    Read more

  • BSA logo large

    Case study:
    British Social Attitudes

    Read more