Geodemographics Blog

Phyllis Vangelder: The Archive of Market & Social Research


A Census, Geodemographics and Segmentation team, led by Barry Leventhal, has been set up by the recently-established Archive of Market and Social Research (AMSR).

The Archive is being created to offer an informative and accessible national resource for all those interested in market and social research. That interest may be in the thinking behind key techniques.

· how these techniques were arrived at,

· how the research industry in the UK developed,

· the contributions made by key industry personnel,

· or the world as described by research studies.

It is intended that all this should be made easily available through the AMSR. It will therefore be of value to current practitioners of research, both users and suppliers; to media organisations; and to students not only of the history of research and the research industry but to students of the history of social attitudes and consumer behaviour which many of the documents will describe.

The Archive will contain significant studies, technical developments, survey results and biographical details and key documents, including published papers, journals, books and newsletters covering the fields of UK market and social research over the last 70 years.

Since WWII the UK has been one of the leading countries, if not the leading country, in the development and use of qualitative and quantitative survey research to measure people’s behaviour and attitudes in order to advise social policy and marketing action. Such research has now become a major part of everyday life, affecting all activities including our food, drink, lifestyles, media, finance, travel, and social attitudes.

Surprisingly, there is no comprehensive record of the development of the industry, nor its impact on society. The AMSR is aiming to collect relevant papers, publications and memories before they are lost forever.

Currently the AMSR is collecting as much material as possible relating to its areas of interest with the intention of professionally housing and curating it for the benefit of the research community.

It has signed a contract with the History of Advertising Trust (HAT), a professional archival organisation which will store, protect and make the archive collection readily available to research, commercial and governmental organisations and academia.

The Census and Geodemographics Group is an invaluable source of material. Its members and their pioneering work made a unique contribution to the development of the profession and to the understanding of how geography and demographics can be harnessed to research.

Barry Leventhal is leading a team collecting material on Census, geodemographics and segmentation for the Archive.

Some of the materials in this context are:

Books, reports, papers, articles

Lists of geodemographic classifications and categories, their names, descriptions and marketing collateral

The sales collateral of vendors e.g. brochures

Examples of maps, reports, layouts etc

Price lists

Press cuttings

Reports on segmentation approaches e.g.Monica. FRuitS, FRESCO

Material that has already been scanned is fine, so long as it can be scanned into a PDF format. Data that have already been digitised will also be very welcome.

At this stage we are not collecting raw data.

If you are downsizing, please don’t throw anything away. And please don’t let your family put valuable reports and papers in binbags. Tell them that any data you have will be welcomed by the Archive.

Please get in touch with Barry Leventhal if you have any material you can donate. He will advise what to do with it, but initially will need a list of the materials you have. Contact Barry at: barry@barryanalytics.comor phone 01908 281688.

The Census, geodemographics and other segmentation systems have underpinned much of our market and social research. Please help the Archive to collect, store and protect this valuable data for future generations.

Any views or opinions presented are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the MRS Census and Geodemographic Group unless otherwise specifically stated.

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