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.

The updated MRS guidance sets out the conditions for limited 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 drafted to address this.

The fundamental principle underlying this guidance is that face-to-face data collection will only be undertaken when no other alternative methodology can be used. This principle should be followed until the working from home and social contact messaging evolves.

Some points to note from the new guidance:

  • Research practitioners must only undertake face-to-face data collection when no alternative methodology can be used.
  • 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.
  • Research practitioners previously classified as clinically extremely vulnerable can be considered for face-to-face projects due to the easing of the shielding requirements in some parts of the UK. However, this can only be considered once detailed risk assessments have been undertaken.
  • 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.

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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