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NatCen wins MRS Award for Innovation in Research Methods

05 December 2017 | Tags: British Social Attitudes, NatCen Panel

The National Centre for Social Research (NatCen) topped the shortlist in the Innovation in Research Methods category at the prestigious Market Research Society Awards last night for its work developing Britain’s first random probability-based mixed-mode panel.

The Award is given for a paper describing a new methodology which adds to the body of research knowledge and significantly contributes to the way research is both thought about and carried out.

NatCen also picked up the Grand Prix Award for Greatest Impact, shortlisted from all the winners on the night.

Judges for the awards commented:

“In considering which of this year’s winners best demonstrated the development of research thinking and practice, the judges felt that one stood out for the 2017 Grand Prix. NatCen’s paper on the development of their panel is a perfect example of research excellence. The judges wanted to make the point that, whilst speed is often seen as more important to clients than accuracy, it is vital for the survival of the sector that it maintains some links with academic rigour. NatCen’s winning paper shows that research cares about what it is doing and cares about doing it well.”

The award-winning NatCen Panel was set up in 2016 and designed to maximise methodological rigour using the methodology recommended by the Polling Inquiry into the 2015 General Election. It is the first mixed mode (online and telephone) panel in Britain based on people selected at random; it draws its sample from the random probability British Social Attitudes survey sample.

Using both phone and online interviewing, along with multiple attempts to contact participants over a longer fieldwork period, the NatCen Panel ensures a representative sample which includes harder-to-reach groups and those who are unable to participate online.

Guy Goodwin, Chief Executive of the National Centre for Social Research said:

“We are delighted to receive the Market Research Society Award, recognising our accomplishments in methodology. It is testament to the hard work of our Panels team, led by Curtis Jessop and Martin Wood, who have been instrumental in ensuring the panel’s success. Our innovative approach allows us to draw on the methodological rigour of the British Social Attitudes survey, while responding to the needs of our customers to produce robust results much more quickly than is possible with a face-to-face survey.”


For media enquiries please contact Sophie Brown:, 0207 549 9550.

Notes to Editors

A report on the development of the Panel, submitted in support of the Award nomination, is available here.

The National Centre for Social Research (NatCen) is an independent, not for profit organisation. We believe that social research has the power to make life better. By really understanding the complexity of people’s lives and what they think about the issues that affect them, we give the public a powerful and influential role in shaping decisions and services that can make a difference to everyone.

The other finalists in the Innovation in Research Methods category were: Nanyang Technological University Singapore, and Northstar Research & Jaguar Land Rover. Details of all the award winners can be found on the Market Research Society website.