Taking Part: information for survey participants

What you need to know about being part of the Taking Part survey.


Taking Part aims to find out how people spend their time and their views on the leisure activities and facilities available to them. It also helps with understanding people’s lifestyle choices and the reasons why they do and don’t participate in activities like:

  • sport and physical activity
  • visits to museums, galleries and heritage sites
  • use of libraries and archives
  • arts events and activities

Being chosen for interview

Addresses are randomly selected from the Post Office’s list of addresses in England, so that the results reflect the experiences and views of the whole population. This may be the first time you have been chosen to take part in the survey, or you may have taken part at some point in the past. Either way, you will receive an introductory Taking Part letter and a Taking Part leaflet by post.

A few days after these have been sent, an interviewer will call at your address. If it is an inconvenient time they can arrange with you to return another time.

Everyone’s views and experiences are valuable to Taking Part, even if you do not participate in any activities or you do not think that your views are relevant. If you don’t participate in any activities, we are keen to know the reasons why not, such as cost, lack of access or interest.

The interview

A professional interviewer will come and conduct the survey in your home. If this is the first time your household has been chosen to take part in the survey, then the interviewer will select who to interview on the doorstep. If there is more than one person in your household aged 16 or over, the interviewer will randomly select one person from those available and will only interview them. If the randomly selected person is aged 16 or 17 and still living with parent(s) or guardian(s), consent will be required.

If your household has taken part in the survey at some point in the past, then the interviewer will want to speak to the same people who took part previously.

The interviewer is able to enter your answers to the survey questions straight onto a laptop. The interview should take around 45 minutes, depending on the answers given.

A small proportion of interviews are checked to ensure that the interviewer acted in a professional manner and that the information given was recorded accurately. You may receive a phone call or letter to confirm this.

The interviewer

All interviewers involved in Taking Part work carry photo identification.

Currently two organisations are working on the Taking Part survey. You can contact the relevant organisation to check that the interviewer who calls at your home is one of our interviewers using the contact details provided in your advance letter or leaflet, or using the contact details given below. The organisations are:

  • Ipsos MORI
  • NatCen Social Research

Interviewing children for the survey

As part of the survey we are also talking to children. We need to understand how much time they spend doing sports and cultural activities both in and out of school so that we can improve the opportunities available to them.

If this is the first time we have approached your household to take part then, if the person chosen for interview is the parent or guardian of a child aged 5-10, we would like to ask them about their child’s interests. If there is a child aged 11-15 at the address, we would like them to take part in their own short interview. The interviewer will ask for permission from the parent or guardian before doing the interview.

If your household has taken part in the survey at some point in the past, then the interviewer will want to speak to the same child aged 11-15 we spoke to last time. The interviewer will ask for permission from the parent or guardian before doing the interview.

The child interview will be considerably shorter than the adult interview (approximately 10 minutes for a 5-10 interview, and 20 minutes for an 11-15 interview).

The Taking Part Web Panel

At the end of your interview you will be invited to join the Taking Part Web Panel, so that you can continue to tell us about the things you do through short online questionnaires. If you agree to join the panel, you will receive an email or text asking you to go online and complete a 5 minute Welcome Questionnaire. After this you will be asked to complete four short questionnaires per year. These will cover the things you do in your spare time and how you feel about them. You will receive gift vouchers as a thank you after completing each additional questionnaire.

Your participation is completely voluntary, but we hope you will be able to help us. By joining the web panel, you will help us understand how and why the activities you participate in and your views change (or stay the same) over time.

Even if you do not want to join the web panel, the information you have provided in your initial interview will still be very valuable.


The information you give is entirely confidential. Your name and address will only be known to the team processing the survey results at Ipsos MORI and NatCen Social Research and the Taking Part survey team in DCMS. We will not pass on your details to any other organisation without your agreement. If you decide at a later date that you no longer want the information collected about you to be used by DCMS or its partner organisations (Historic England, Arts Council England and Sport England) then it will be deleted.

Who is conducting the survey

From 1 April 2016, Ipsos MORI and NatCen Social Research are carrying out the survey on behalf of The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and three of its Non-Departmental Public Bodies (NDPBs):

NDPBs have a role in the processes of national government but are not part of a government department.

Ipsos MORI is one of the best known survey organisations in the UK. It carries out research studies in the areas of social and public policy, covering topics such as sport, culture, health, science, education, crime and employment. Ipsos MORI is a completely independent research agency and abides by the Market Research Society code of conduct in every respect.

More information about Ipsos MORI

NatCen Social Research have been carrying out high quality social research for over 40 years. We are a non-profit organisation, independent of all government departments and political parties. We are commissioned by government and charities to uncover the real views of people in Britain today. What we find out is used to inform policy and make a difference to the lives of people across the nation. We are a charity and aim to share with you the important things we find out. So our research does not just help our clients, it’s used by other organisations trying to improve life in the UK.

More information about NatCen


Both organisations have an information line for members of the public who have been asked to do the Taking Part survey:

Ipsos MORI

Tel: 0808 202 4971


Interviewer ID check (office hours) Tel: 020 7347 3268

NatCen Social Research

Tel: 0800 526 397


Interviewer ID check (office hours) Tel: 0800 526 397

For further details about the questionnaire and survey outputs, please contact the Taking Part team at DCMS:

Published 27 February 2013