Taking Part: information for survey users

What users need to know to know about the Taking Part survey.


The Taking Part survey is a continuous face-to-face household survey of adults aged 16 and over and children aged 5 to 15 years old in England. It has run since 2005 and is the main evidence source for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and its sectors. The Taking Part survey collects data on engagement with:

  • Arts
  • Museums and galleries
  • Heritage
  • Libraries
  • Archives
  • Sport

It includes information on frequency of participation, reasons for participating, barriers to participation and attitudes to the sectors. Information is also collected on a variety of other sectors and topics including demographics, engagement in the sectors while growing up, volunteering and charitable giving, and internet access.

The survey’s main objectives are to:

  • provide a central, reliable evidence source that can be used to analyse cultural and sporting engagement, providing a clear picture of why people do or do not engage.
  • meet the needs and interests of everyone who uses Taking Part data.
  • underpin further research on driving engagement and the value and benefits of engagement.

The survey is commissioned by DCMS and three partner organisations (Arts Council England, Historic England and Sport England).

From 1 April 2016, Ipsos MORI and NatCen Social Research are carrying out the survey on behalf of the DCMS and its funding partners.

In March 2016 DCMS published a strategy outlining proposed developments for the Taking Part survey over the next five years.

Resources for Taking Part users

Statistical releases

Taking Part has been designated a National Statistic by the UK Statistics Authority, meaning that it meets the highest possible standards of quality.

The latest statistical releases for the Taking Part survey can be found on the Taking Part survey statistical releases page.

Dates of upcoming releases are published in the DCMS Official Statistics Releases Calendar.

Online data analysis tools

A set of tools are available that enable users to produce bespoke tables and explore the survey beyond the information available in the headline reports. For more information visit Taking Part survey: data analysis tools.

Record-level data

Record-level Taking Part datasets can be accessed via the UK Data Service, University of Essex. These include data from 2005/06 to present, covering adult, child and longitudinal data. Please note that datasets are available for not-for-profit educational and research purposes only.

Further research

Additional research and analysis has been carried out using the Taking Part data by a range of organisations. DCMS funded research is published on

Questionnaires and technical reports

The questionnaires and technical reports for the Taking Part survey are published on

Survey participation

Participants in the survey are randomly selected from addresses from the Post Office’s list of addresses in England. This ensures that results reflect the experiences and views of the whole population. You can find more information for survey participants on the Taking Part: survey participants page.

User engagement

To continuously improve the survey, DCMS undertakes a series of user engagement surveys and events. Further information, including material from the 2016 Taking Part user event can be found on the Taking Part: user engagement page.


To receive updates about Taking Part, including information about publications and user events, subscribe to the Taking Part newsletter.


We are always interested to hear your views on the Taking Part survey. Please contact us by email at

Published 27 February 2013