MRS has issued new guidance specifying the implications for face-to-face data collection, following the issuing of the new restrictions for England and Scotland on 4th January plus the new restrictions for Wales and Northern Ireland issued at the end of December.

View the full PDF here

Some points to note from the new guidance:

  • Research practitioners must review all face-to-face data collection projects and determine if face-to-face data collection is essential.
  • Research practitioners must only undertake essential face-to-face data collection which cannot be achieved using other methods.
  • Research practitioners must undertake risk assessments of any proposed essential face-to-face data collection exercise before beginning the activity.
  • When face-to-face data collection is undertaken it can only be in those locations that remain open as a result of Covid-19 restrictions and in locations allowed within the MRS guidance.
  • In-home face-to-face data collection continues to be restricted to on the doorstep only.
  • Research practitioners have a responsibility to protect vulnerable groups, participants and the reputation of the profession.

Whilst this guidance is similar to previous guidance it is not the same, for example there are new requirements about vehicle sharing and travel, and research practitioners must familiarise themselves with the new requirements. Full details can be found here in the new guidance.

The MRS Standards Team are continuing to review and update the MRS guidance as and when required. The existing MRS Covid-19 guidance documents continue to apply supplementing the guidance issued today: 

If you have any queries about the MRS Code or any of the MRS’ Covid-19 guidance please contact the MRS Standards Team via the MRS Codeline service (

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