MRS is committed to providing the research practitioners with the necessary tools to ensure inclusive research, insight and data collection. In line with this, the following guidelines and updates are available or currently being worked on.

Already available:

To address some of the legal and privacy concerns MRS has issued new guidance:

Supplementing the privacy guidance, MRS has two existing best practice documents on researching age as well as sex and gender:

MRS Best Practice Guide: Age bands for researching over 65s: this guidance addresses the importance of introducing additional older age bands into demographic screening questions. Practice has tended to treat participants aged 65 and over as a single homogeneous group. However those aged 65 and over can cover two separate generations, who will have different reference points and life experiences.

MRS Best Practice Guide: Collecting data on sex and gender: this guidance helps practitioners to legally and ethically collect data and ask questions on biological sex, gender and gender identity. This guidance includes advice on questions, response options and other methodological issues. 

To be available by the end of 2021

New MRS guidance is being developed on gathering data on:

  • ethnicity
  • sexual orientation
  • physical ability

The MRS best practice guide on sex and gender is also being updated to the same timeline. To support the guidance an FAQ document will also be developed.

MRS is liaising with the Office for National Statistics (ONS) in the development of this new guidance to ensure that the MRS guidance complements the ONS and the UK Statistics Authority (UKSA) strategy Statistics for the Public Good supported by the work of the Inclusive Data Taskforce (IDTF). The IDTF has undertaken a consultation, gathered evidence and is due to issue its recommendations in September 2021.

MRS intends to align its guidance with the IDTF recommendations to ensure that the research and statistics sector has a single cohesive approach to gathering inclusive data.

Update to the MRS Code of Conduct

The final strand will be the creation of a new MRS Regulation, which will be mandatory, and will set out transparency requirements for reporting sampling parameters. This update will require clear inclusion of which characteristics have been used when providing or reporting ‘National Representative’ or ‘City Representative’ samples. This Regulation will expand and interpret the current MRS Code of Conduct (2019) requirements as specified in rules 58 and 58:

58. Members must ensure that data include sufficient technical information to enable reasonable assessment of the validity of results.

59. Members must ensure that reports include sufficient information to enable reasonable assessment of the validity of results.

This update is planned to come into effect by the end of 2021.

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