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Research can play a powerful role in giving lesser-heard groups a platform to represent themselves. Representative research also has significant benefits for research buyers, enabling commercial and public organisations to better serve minority groups. This on-demand course will enable you to address biases and blind spots, along with offering guidance on research design to achieve valid and effective results.

Too often organisations do not have a holistic understanding of minority groups, due to factors such as lack of interaction, representation in media or visibility in prominent positions within culture and society. This can lead to misunderstandings andthe perpetuation of restrictive, and often harmful, stereotypes. Research can help to bridge the knowledge gap.

This on-demand course shows how to overcome the barriers to inclusive research including:

  • Challenges in accessing minority audiences through traditional research recruitment approaches
  • Engaging audiences that may, understandably, be less familiar or comfortable with research
  • Potentially needing to employ a range of data collection methods and practices to ensure the research is inclusive and therefore representative (e.g. translations, ethnic matching, online and offline options).

The need for more tailored approaches can increase barriers to conducting (effective) research with lesser-heard audiences, thus diminishing the likelihood of it taking place. For example, some may be concerned about the potential need for additional time or budget relative to what they are used to, or even be under-confident in their ability to successfully deliver the project.

Researching minority audiences is starting to become more common, with improvements in access, guidance and a general shift towards inclusivity. Brands and organisations are increasingly seeing the multitude of opportunities, including financial and reputational, in engaging diverse audiences. Inclusive research can be critical to achieving these, if done right!

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) and MRS are leading the way. The ONS published recommendations from its Inclusive Data Taskforce report, which the MRS’s Representation in Research Steering Group is implementing, along with other initiatives to ensure that research projects in the UK carefully consider and reflect the distribution of the national population.

This course enables you to ensure that research considers the diversity of the UK population, or any given target audience, and is inclusive of groups that are increasing in size as well as those who have historically been underrepresented. It looks in particular detail at racial, ethnic and religious minority groups, and will also have specific sections on minorities in relation to gender identity, sexual orientation and physical and mental health conditions.

What you learn:

  • Why it is important to fairly represent minority groups in research.
  • Considerations in relation to ethics, validity and reliability when designing research (e.g. sampling, data collection methodologies, question wording).
  • Current gaps and challenges in relation to executing research with minority groups well.
  • Best practices to navigate current gaps and challenges, as well as future improvements that are on the horizon.
  • Inspiration through examples of successful and beneficial projects!
  • Population shifts and changes with comparisons between Census 2011 and 2021.

Who it is for?

This training equips all levels of research professionals with the knowledge, tips and inspiration to help you better navigate the research design process. By the end of the course you will feel more confident and empowered when it comes to conducting inclusive research.

Course structure

Part 1: Context and why inclusivity matters

  • Understanding bias and how this plays out in all of our lives
  • Why inclusivity matters and why it is becoming increasingly important
  • The critical role research can play in fairly representing lesser heard groups
  • Why research is currently not fulfilling its potential - overarching gaps and challenges

Part 2: Focusing on getting research right – a 4 step approach

  • Considerations in relation to ethics, validity and reliability when designing research (e.g. sampling, data collection mechanisms, question wording)
  • Best practices to navigate gaps and challenges, as well as future improvements that are on the horizon

The 4-step process:

  • Step 1 – Gaining contextual knowledge
  • Step 2 – Sampling and data collection considerations
  • Step 3 – Engagement and fieldwork
  • Step 4 - Implementation

Part 3: Round up and future actions 

  • Inspiration through examples of successful and beneficial projects - case studies
  • Key learnings and reflections


Sania Haq is an expert in intercultural research having worked in this space for 12+ years. Sania helps commercial clients, in sectors including music and entertainment, to navigate and reach diverse audiences and works closely with governments and non-profits to help them better understand and meet their socioeconomic needs.

More broadly, Sania is also a Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) and intercultural practitioner. Sania writes, speaks, and provides training on such matters, in relation to research methods and more widely. Along with being part of the MRS's Representation in Research Steering Group, Sania is the trainer for MRS courses on Inclusive Research and Embedding Diversity, Equity and Inclusion within organisations.

In 2023, Sania set up Bye 2 Stereotypes, a brand that brings together her research, training and advisory work.

With a rich background in terms of research methodologies and sectors, Sania believes strongly that well designed research can help clients meet even the most challenging strategic objectives.

Sania has been in research for 10+ years and, as well as delivering research to major corporate clients such as Google and Spotify, she has specialist expertise in running projects for government and intergovernmental bodies. She is passionate about using research for the enhancement of public good. One of her main areas of specialism relates to minority, and lesser heard groups, and optimising methodologies to ensure that research more accurately represents their experiences/views.

Sania is a member of the MRS’s Representation in Research Steering Group, and also regularly writes and speaks on how research can be used to better represent lesser-heard groups.

Additional Information

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