Research methods training

I've been doing teaching of some kind or another for almost all the time I've been in research, and most people say I'm pretty good at it. My main experience is in teaching questionnaire design, but I also cover everything from sampling through data collection to analysis.

My main strength is that I combine a career-long interest in methodological innovation and theory with a thoroughly practical take on what is actually possible, based on carrying out some of the UK's largest and most prestigious social surveys. No ivory towers with me.



Making the ITT process work better

So you've got some budget and want to commission a survey. Even if you've commissioned several before, if you haven't actually managed a lot of surveys from the supplier side it's easy to write an ITT that doesn't include all the key things that a supplier needs to put in a good bid. If you don't speak the same language as the supplier it can be pretty hard working out which bid is better, as opposed to just cheaper.

That's where I come in. My huge experience means I can help you sort the wheat from the chaff, the sheep from the goats, the cowboys from the gold standard, and make sure your survey commissioning process is a success.


Improving your surveys

Want a questionnaire designed from scratch for you to implement yourself? Or want an expert outside eye on a questionnaire draft from an agency? I'm your man. I'm annoyingly good at finding bits of questionnaire that won't work properly even after lots of others have looked at them, so don't leave it too late before getting me in.

Same goes for sample designs, analysis plans, and reports - I'm equally happy to draw them up or cast my eagle eye on someone else's draft.

Political polling

Not many people know this, but when I was at NOP I was responsible for the final prediction poll for the 2005 General Election that forecast the vote shares of all three main parties to the nearest percentage point. A feat that had only been achieved once before and not since. Indeed you may have noticed a decline in accuracy of polls since I stopped doing them.....

What has not had any drop in accuracy is of course the exit poll. I've been running these since 1997, and after an admittedly slightly flaky start, have produced a run of very accurate exit polls, the last ones when GfK were in partnership with Ipsos MORI. A standard feature of recent election night broadcasts is for the pundits on TV to deride the exit poll only for it to be proved right.

And it's not just the UK - I've worked on very successful exit polls in Greece, Ukraine, and Georgia. I was also a member of the committee that produced the ESOMAR/WAPOR guide to exit polling.

For over a decade starting in the late 1980s I also conducted polling for the Labour Party, working alongside Labour's political messaging and strategy consultants

Longitudinal Studies

OK, I admit this is a bit niche, but if longitudinal studies are your thing then I REALLY AM your man. It would be quicker to list the major UK longitudinal studies I haven't worked on, but that might be confusing so here are the ones I have:

  • National Child Development Study (two sweeps)
  • British Household Panel Study (all 18 waves)
  • Longitudinal Study of Young People in England (11 waves over 2 cohorts)
  • Millennium Cohort Study (one wave)

There's lots of ways longitudinal studies are different from cross-sectional ones, and I can help you make sure yours don't end up looking like a series of separate surveys.


Have laptop, will travel

If you want to do a survey better, or train your staff/ students better, and in particular if you want advice based on 39 years at the survey coalface, then I can help you.

Just email