Understanding Research Methods

The Ipsos MORI Research Methods Centre (RMC) was launched in July last year and replaces the Research Methods Unit. The RMC is an integrated research unit which provides expertise in advanced data analysis, sampling and survey methodology generally. Our mission is to ensure that all of our quantitative research – whether using traditional or cutting-edge methods - is conducted to the highest possible standards.

The author(s)

  • Hayk Gyuzalyan Associate Director
  • Patten Smith Ipsos Research Methods Centre, UK
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Ultimately, of course, our major concern is to ensure that Ipsos MORI delivers research which gets to the heart of client needs. In doing this, we acknowledge that resources are at a premium, and that sometimes classic text-book research designs can come at a price which may not be justifiable to clients on cost effectiveness grounds. But we passionately believe that whatever a client’s budget there is always a best approach, an approach which minimises error; and we see our role as being that of ensuring that in everything we do in Ipsos MORI we find and use that best approach.

The RMC comprises a core team of statistical and methodological experts, led by Dr Patten Smith and Dr Andrew Zelin, who have published many methodological reports and papers in academic journals and presented awardwinning papers at conferences.Welcome to the Research Methods Centre Newsletter. We shall use this to update the UK research community on the methodological work we are undertaking at Ipsos MORI. In it we shall present material relevant to those with an interest in survey methods. Our orientation will generally be applied rather than theoretical because the problems we usually encounter in our everyday work are about making real-life surveys work in practice. For us theory should be the handmaiden of practice, and for this reason we shall not always present academic style papers. Our criteria for reporting work relate solely to whether there is something useful for the practitioner to learn about his/her craft, and with this in mind we think it better to disseminate first and then polish later.

In the past 6 months the RMC has also made major methodological contributions to a number of current / recent complex Ipsos MORI projects, including The Civil and Social Justice Panel Survey (CSJPS) for the Legal Services Commission, the National Adult Learning Survey (NALS) for DCSF, the Community Payback Study for OCJR and the Home Office, Small Area Estimation work for the Audit Commission, and the Citizenship Survey for CLG.

The author(s)

  • Hayk Gyuzalyan Associate Director
  • Patten Smith Ipsos Research Methods Centre, UK