The Government Social Research profession supports the development, implementation, review and evaluation of government policy.
The Government Social Research profession (GSR) is one of the Civil Service Professions that works across government to provide evidence for policy,. There are about 1,000 researchers, who work alongside other analysts, such as economists, statisticians and operational researchers, as well as policy makers.
GSR researchers use the methods of social scientific enquiry – surveys, controlled trials, qualitative research, case studies and analysis of administrative and statistical data – to measure, describe, explain and predict social and economic phenomena to policy makers.
We have members in all central government departments as well as devolved administrations and other government bodies.
Our purpose is to:
- provide government with objective, reliable, relevant and timely social research
- support the development, implementation, review and evaluation of policy and delivery
- ensure policy debate is informed by the best research evidence and thinking from the social sciences
- provide in-depth data and objective analysis on what people and organisations think, how they behave and why they may not be responding to initiatives as planned
- ensure government and frontline decisions have an understanding of the people and organisations affected by that decision and the wider social consequences
The Role of Government Social Researchers
Government social researchers play a critical role in gathering analysing and interpreting the information. This forms the foundation for decision-making affecting every UK resident. As a Research Officer (Fast Stream) you can contribute to:
- reporting social trends
- developing government policy
- evaluating how policies make a difference to public services
Your work might involve:
- developing surveys
- analysing data
- producing statistics
- reviewing existing research evidence
- working with other analysts in government
Our Social Researchers are based in Cardiff, Edinburgh, Leeds, Liverpool, Sheffield, London, Newport and Titchfield.
Examples of Government Social Research’s Work
The attached case studies offer practical examples of the type of work undertaken by Government Social Researchers across Government.
The Scottish Government – A 5-step approach to Designing and Evaluating Interventions. Scottish Government (PDF, 795KB, 14 pages)
Department of Education – Mapping user experiences of the Education, Health and Care process: a qualitative study. Department for Education (PDF, 1.22MB, 12 pages)
Jenny Dibden, is the Head of the GSR profession and also Director for Science and Research in the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).
Jenny has been a civil servant for 28 years. During the early and middle parts of her career she helped construct the current evidence base of the Department for Work and Pensions. Jenny has subsequently worked in a number of policy and operational roles. In September 2014, Jenny joined BEIS as Director for Science and Research, with responsibility for science policy and funding.
Our members come from a range of social science backgrounds including:
- social policy
- political science
- social statistics.
We use rigorous assessment procedures to ensure we have high quality social scientists as government social researchers. If you are a researcher interested in working in government you can find out more by contacting via the Economic and Social Research Council.
GSR Fast Stream Scheme
The 2017-18 Fast Stream Scheme is now open for applications and the closing date is 26th October 2017.
GSR Sandwich Student Scheme
The 2017-18 Sandwich Student Placement scheme is closed for applications.
The Government Economic and Social Research Team
The Government Economic and Social Research (GESR) Team is the professional support unit for all GSR and Government Economic Service members.
- provide support to government Chief Economists and GSR Heads of Profession
- promote good analysis and evidence in government
- provide central recruitment and information services
- maintain and develop profession standards and provide competency guidance
- promote more effective use of combined skills of analysts across professions
- manage applications for the Fast Stream and Summer Student Placement schemes
- organise professional conferences and seminars
- make sure policy makers have access to tools and resources in the analytical community
You can contact the GESR team by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Or write to us at:
1 Horse Guards Road