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Data and Statistics for Social Sciences: Society

Qualitative data collections

Qualitative data collections (usually in paper form) residing in Special Collections archives, regional archives and museums across the UK include:

National Social Policy & Social Change Archive, University of Essex.

This archive houses the raw data arising out of contemporary studies relating to social policy and social change. It includes a range of well-known pioneering classic studies from the social sciences.

Borthwick Institute for Archives, University of York.

Includes records relating to surveys and enquiries, including the York Poverty surveys from 1930 to 1950.

London School of Economics Archive

Collections held cover modern British political, economic and social history, the history of the social sciences with particular reference to economics and social anthropology, and the history of the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Mass Observation Archive, University of Sussex

The Mass Observation Archive specialises in material about everyday life in Britain. It contains papers generated by the original Mass Observation social research organisation (1937 to early 1950s), and newer material collected continuously since 1981. The Archive is in the care of the University of Sussex and is housed in the Library in Special Collections.

Modern Records Centre, University of Warwick.

The Centre holds primary sources for modern British social, political and economic history, with special concentration on the national history of industrial relations, industrial politics and labour history.

UK Data Service

The first dedicated national data service for qualitative data - have helped many international archives in their efforts to bring in qualitative data. Many of these are part of the Council of European Social Science Data Archives (CESSDA) which are shown on our map of European data archives, or part of an international professional organisation for data services known as IASSIST - the International Association for Social Science Information Services and Technology. These are shown on our data archives world maps.

Discover UKDS

UKDS UK Data Service has web pages to aid researchers looking specifically for data on particular themes:


A variety of data collections related to ageing, from key government and longitudinal surveys to international indicators and qualitative historical interviews.

law Crime

Crime-related data held by the UK Data Service include not only national crime surveys but also illegal drug use, workers in the criminal justice system, football hooliganism and community policing in Africa.

Item ImageLabour 

A full range of employment and labour market data from key government and longitudinal surveys to international indicators and qualitative historical interviews.

Item ImagePoverty & social exclusion

A number of key collections on the complexities of poverty, living standards and social exclusion ranging from individual life courses to large scale surveys and country-level indicators.

You can search or browse Data catalogue for data collections, series, case studies, and ESRC outputs on:

  • Population, vital statistics & censuses;
  • Employment & labour;
  • Social stratification & groupings;
  • Social welfare policy & systems;
  • Law, crime & legal systems;
  • Society & culture.