Research Design


1. To combine underexploited longitudinal descriptive metadata and qualitative data on the 3,500 Mass Observation Project (MOP) volunteer writers who have contributed since 1981.

This will increase knowledge of MOP writers, in particular a) their socio-demographic characteristics; b) how they perceive themselves in terms of class, identity and the influence of key life-events; c) their writing behaviour; the representativeness MOP writers in relation to the broader UK population and the active UK volunteering population.

2. To contribute to the on-going debate on the ‘representativeness’ of Mass Observation writers, and provide evidence relating to how the writing of MOP volunteer writers can contribute to the study of British social attitudes and behaviours over a 30+ year period.

3. To open up access to unexploited, descriptive metadata held by the Mass Observation Archive; enable the confident use, and sampling  of MOP writing; and widen access to MOP writing as a source of longitudinal secondary data that can be used by different disciplines.




This is a mixed methods research project which mixes analytic methods as well as qualitative and quantitative data.

A three-pronged analytic process is being developed which will be documented in detail.

1) Quantitative analysis of

2) Concurrent qualitative analysis of the writings of MOP volunteers in response to two Directives.

3) Data integration and mixed analysis of mixed dataset.



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