‘Far to Go: Diversity and Inclusion in Social Research’

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The Young Foundation and the UK-based Social Research Association launched the first- ever study on diversity and inclusion in the social research profession, and their report is now available online. Download the report here.


The study finds that:

  • The social research profession has far to go in order to represent the wider society,
  • Inclusive research practice often gets squeezed out due to timing, funding or resourcing issues, and having narrow range of perspectives represented in the design of briefs and research itself,
  • Marginalised groups share negative experiences of working in the profession as part of the study, revealing that intersectionality of multiple personal characteristics compounds the complexity of challenging poor behaviours, and
  • Minority groups feel burdened with the need to lead and create change in the sector.

The study calls for improved access to profession and better retention of talent, making five overarching recommendations for the sector:

  1. Build a culture of reflection, support and transparency: scrutinise your own work and practice, and ensure that staff are closely involved with this process, whilst not inflicting the burden of leading and creating change on those already most negatively affected.
  2. Develop meaningful action plans that: actively involve staff in design and implementation, build on best practice within the profession and from other industries, are explicitly endorsed by senior leadership, can be embedded in organisational policies, processes and practice, and have a linked framework for measuring and reporting progress, to ensure collective accountability.
  3. Commit the necessary resources: provide the necessary financial, practical and human resources to implement the actions identified, provide the training and specialist support to allow staff to adapt to new ways of working, and ensure the mechanisms are in place to respond appropriately and supportively if/when staff feel that poor behaviors, practices and processes are happening.
  4. Welcome challenge: invite feedback (and respond to it) on how inclusive your research or commissioning practices are and what can be done to improve them, and ensure there are safe and supportive forums for staff who experience workplace exclusion or discrimination to come together for support and change-making.
  5. Be willing to collaborate: contribute to efforts within and across sectors in social research to share best practice and approaches to improving diversity and inclusion –  in line with the principles of ‘open access’ and the ‘creative commons’ – and provide financial and in-kind support to initiatives which are working to improve the profession as a whole.

Want to know more about the research? Check out this video, including discussion of the data and analysis.


About The Young Foundation: The Young Foundation’s mission is to develop better connected and stronger communities across the UK. We research in and with communities to increase understanding of community life today. We offer different methods and approaches to involve communities and grow their capacity to own and lead change. We provide tools and resources to support innovation to tackle the issues people and communities care about. We’re a UKRI accredited research organisation, social investor and community practitioner.

About the Social Research Association (SRA): The SRA is a membership body of 1,250+ researchers. We promote high standards in social research and support practitioners via training courses in a wide range of methods, events and conferences, good practice guides, publications and more.  Many SRA members work in applied research settings, such as central and local government, other public bodies, research agencies, charities, academia, and the independent s

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