MRS has updated the suite of MRS guidance interpreting the implications for face-to-face data collection following the various announcements of the easing of restrictions across the four nations of the UK throughout May and June.  The new guidance also reflects the 4-week pause by the UK Government for its step plan out of restrictions.

The updated MRS guidance sets out the conditions for the resumption of face-to-face data collection activities.  There are variations between the four nations, particularly Scotland’s Protection Level system, and separate guidance has been issued to address this.

The fundamental principle underlying this guidance is that  face-to-face data collection can now be undertaken when it has been determined to be the most suitable methodology to use. 

Some further points to note from the new guidance:

  • Research practitioners must undertake risk assessments of any proposed 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 are 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.
  • The list of areas in England affected by the Covid-19 variant has been increased by the UK Government to 14.
  • There is additional guidance about travel and overnight stays for those parts of the country where the Covid-19 variant is spreading fastest.
  • Research practitioners continue to have a responsibility to protect vulnerable groups, participants and the reputation of the profession.

The three core documents covering face-to-face data collection, face-to-face mystery shopping and face-to-face data collection in facilities have all been updated and are available via the following links:

The separate guidance for Scotland is available via the following link:

The Scottish guidance should be read in conjunction with the core MRS guidance. 

The MRS Standards Team will continue to review and update the MRS guidance as and when required.  Over the summer the Team will be working on guidance for the resumption of in-home face-to-face data collection.  The current plan is for in-home to resume from September assuming that the UK Government continues with its revised timetable for easing restrictions. This approach ensures that we have extra time to see how the post-easing of restrictions performs before committing to a full roll-out of in-home face-to-face data collection.

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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