November 2004

The seminar attracted about 50 people in all and covered a whole range of disparate areas related to the outcome of the 2001 Census. However, the diversity of topics seemed to be a strength as they added interest and everyone learnt something new.

The first two sessions were from academics. David McLennan from Oxford told us about the development of the new indices of Multiple Deprivation and its use of the new super output areas. Chris Brundson from Glamorgan gave an interesting and imaginative talk about finding appropriate weights to use to combine indicators of a similar type.

Download David McLennan’s presentation

Download Chris Brundson’s presentation

The second two sessions were from the commercial sector. The first of these, by James Nolan of Woolworths, described the size and complexity of the task of testing and assimilating the new data that had become available and gave an example of the importance of simplifying conclusions. Louis Jones from Somerfield took up this point and showed how he had developed a simple but powerful figure based on the newly classified social grade to determine segmentation of Somerfield stores.

Download James Nolan’s presentation

Download Louis Jones’ presentation

The third session was about the use of geodemographics in the public sector. The first of these by David Ashby of CASA and Kevin Harris of the Devon and Cornwall Constabulary took us through the work they had been doing in analysing crime data and applying modelled figures from the British Crime Survey. The second by John McCarthy of the University of Central Lancaster was how he had applied ACORN to understanding student application and admissions to target marketing effort in order to improve the quality of the intake.

Download David Ashby and Kevin Harris’ presentation

The final session told us about a rather unusual application of geodemographics to help in the provision of quality samples for market research interviews. This was given by Martin van Staveren and Chris Walker of BRMB and the Kantar Group and involved the creation of aggregation of output areas to produce areas large enough for an interviewer's workload. The final paper of the day was by Richard Webber of UCL who spoke about the identification of common value groups across a number of different countries and described how this might be helpful to the marketing of global brands.

Download Martin van Staveren and Chris Walker’s presentation

Download Richard Webber’s presentation

Over the whole day we learned about the substantial increase in value that the changes to the 2001 Census had released, whether it be about access, the new output areas, the new higher output area levels, the inclusion of social grade and so forth.

Get the latest MRS news

Our newsletters cover the latest MRS events, policy updates and research news.