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Research Resources

Updated 25/11/13

Follow the trail

This page


  • Research sources with a narrower brief are more likely to appear under Areas of Concern pages.
  • Legislation Monitoring - see Lobbying page.
  • For research specifically on the voluntary sector, go to Sector Development.
  • Our page on 'recent published research of interest' has been retired.
  • See also Getting the Message Across page for some communication tips.


Local and Regional resources

Find neighbourhood statistics ONS, the government's statistical service, has produced a regionalised web data service (NeSS). A range of stats are accessible from ward to region scale, but in the early stages of development.

YorkshireFutures Regional Intelligence Network provides stats, policy analysis, research.


PolicyLibrary is more of a pointer to public policy research.

ARK is a source of social and political information for Northern Ireland (joint project of Queen's University Belfast and University of Ulster).

Ashridge Centre for Business and Society looks at relations between the corporate sector, government and civil society, with an emphasis on the changing role of business.

Bevan Foundation "the social justice think tank for Wales".

Centre for Economic Policy Research Reports include titles such as The New Economics of Rising Inequalities (with OUP).

Centre for Local Economic Strategies Works in 'the area of local economic regeneration ... and serves a network of local authorities, Training and Enterprise Councils etc'. Services and information available on a one-off or subscription basis. Barclay House, 35 Whitworth Street West, Manchester, M1 5NG, phone 0161 236 7036.

Centre for Neighbourhood Research - now closed? See University of Bristol page.

Centre for Policy on Ageing Promotes informed debate about issues concerning older people.

Centre for Policy Studies is an independent centre-right think tank.

Centre Forum an independent, liberal think-tank.

Centre for Research on Families and Relationships, University of Edinburgh.

Centre for Scottish Public Policy

Centre for the Study of Public Policy at University of Strathclyde.

Civitas, the Institute for the Study of Civil Society, aims to "deepen public understanding of the legal, institutional and moral framework that makes a free and democratic society possible". Good European think tanks list, too.

Countryside and Community Research Institute at University of Gloucester.

Demos 'is an independent think tank and research institute based in London. Launched in 1993, its role is to help reinvigorate public policy and political thinking and to develop radical solutions to long term problems.'

Economic and Social Research Council 'is the UK's leading research funding and training agency addressing economic and social concerns'. An academic body - find others via Research Councils UK.

Eurostat European statistics of all types.

Family Policy Studies Centre has closed.

Foreign Policy Centre is 'committed to revitalising debate about foreign policy in an age of increasing global interdependence.' Mezzanine, Elizabeth House, 39 York Road, London, SE1 7NQ, phone 020 7401 5350.

Foundation for Information Policy Research studies the interaction between information technology and society.

Institute of Economic Affairs Mission is 'to improve public understanding of the fundamental institutions of a free society, with particular reference to the role of markets in solving economic and social problems.'

Institute for Fiscal Studies Mainly on economics and taxation issues, but includes consideration of impacts on/of society. Have done some research with CAF. From site redesign winter 04/05, charity related publications are no longer grouped, so do a search on Charities as keyword. Phone 020 7636 3784, email:

Institute for Public Policy Research Influential centre-left think tank, aim is to promote and contribute to a greater understanding of key social, economic and political questions. With their web site now accessible its now well worth checking out. 30-32 Southampton St, London, WC2E 7RA, phone 020 7470 6100.

Institute of Race Relations 'conducts research and produces educational resources which are at the cutting edge of the struggle for racial justice in Britain and internationally. It seeks to reflect the experience of those who suffer racial oppression and draws its perspectives from the most vulnerable in society.'

Institute of Welsh Affairs.

Joseph Rowntree Foundation Do a wide variety of research on issues which matter to the sector, including volunteering, housing, social welfare. Web site includes links to other sites with research information, as well as having much of their own available online.

Local Authorities Research and Intelligence Association (LARIA) A good links page. Of most relevance to areas of work in which councils are prominent (e.g. care, housing).

National Centre for Social Research 'is the largest independent social research institute in Britain. It conducts social research among members of the public to provide information on a range of social policy issues in Britain.' 35 Northampton Square, London EC1V OAX, phone 020 7250 1866, email:

National Research and Development Centre on adult literacy, language and numeracy.

Office of National Statistics The government's agency, giving 'the latest comprehensive range of official UK statistics and information about statistics as well providing free access to a selection of recently released publications in downloadable pdf format.' Specialist sections include one on Social Capital.

PIRC Independent provider of research on corporate governance and corporate responsibility issues for shareholders (full name is Pensions Investment Research Consultants). See also Ethical Investment - Resource Extra

Policy Studies Institute 'conducts research which will promote economic well-being and improve quality of life' and is a wholly owned educational charity subsidiary of the University of Westminster. Quarterly academic journal Policy Studies, published by Carfax (now part of Taylor and Francis). Also produce the influential Cultural Trends.

Public Management Foundation A research centre on issues related to the provision of public services, with underlying notion of 'managing for social result'. Closely connected with Office for Public Management whose web site features Social Results News, updated weekly. 165 Grays Inn Road, London, WC1X 8UE. Phone 020 7278 1712, email:

Research in Practice for Adults (takes over from Centre for Evidence-Based Social Services?) - research utilisation organisation for adult social care.

Royal Institute of International Affairs at Chatham House is an independent research and membership organisation working to promote the understanding of key international issues.

Runnymede Trust UK-based independent think tank on ethnicity and cultural diversity, working 'to challenge racial discrimination, to influence anti-racist legislation and to promote a successful multi-ethnic Britain'. 133 Aldersgate Street, London, EC1A 4JA, phone 020 7600 9666, email:

Socio-Legal Studies Association produces newsletter, annual conference as well as information on research areas.

Sociological Research Online 'publishes applied sociology, focusing on theoretical, empirical and methodological discussions which engage with current political, cultural and intellectual topics and debates.' Quarterly (last days of Feb, May, Aug, Nov). Has a full list of useful links. Individuals should be able to get access to most info on-screen, but in theory at least there are restrictions around the Archives for networked organisations.

Social Market Foundation. Established 1989 to provide a source of innovative economic and social policy ideas.

Social Research Association Exists 'to advance the conduct, development and application of social research'.

Society Central "where evidence meets policy".

Third Sector Knowledge Portal is an online library and web catalogue, developed by the Third Sector Research Centre to promote and preserve evidence, research and analysis of the ever-changing work of the voluntary, community and social enterprise sectors.

The Young Foundation undertakes research to identify and understand unmet social needs and then develops practical initiatives and institutions to address them. Includes Institute of Community Studies?

Other Sources

Social Science Research Network Well-connected worlwide resource.

Newspapers and magazines, as they move online, are providing a useful source if you can only find the right site and section. We suggest trying:

Opinion pollsters major players includes Ipsos MORI (has Charities Research Team which helps charities to maximise their fundraising efforts, connect with key audiences or heighten media coverage).

UN Statistics Division - Social Indicators.

Doing it

Secret Services A Handbook for Investigating Local Quangos, Local Government Information Unit, ISBN 1-8979-57-10-0. Published 1995, 192 pages. How to investigate quangos, including how to obtain and use financial, policy and other information from health authorities and trusts, housing associations, Training and Enterprise Councils, Urban Development Corporations etc. Also includes criteria for monitoring the activities and performance of quangos. Available from LGIU, 1-5 Bath Street, London EC1V 9QQ Price: 25.00

See Social Research Association's Research Guidelines. Also publications, for titles such as Commissioning Social Research: A good practice guide and Safety for Social Researchers available to download.

Charities should check out the Charity Commission guidance intended for any charity that carries out, or funds others to carry out, research.