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All public opinion data was collected by Public First, a research agency that is a member of the British Polling Council and a company partner of the Market Research Society. They were commissioned by the Campaign for Science and Engineering, and the CaSE team worked closely with Public First to shape the data-gathering process.

The public attitudes research process was extensive, and its individual components spanned almost a year in total. Both its quantitative and qualitative elements are large by industry standards, where typical survey might be 1,000-2,000 for nationally-representative samples, our July survey covered over 8,000 respondents.

This section summarises how the quantitative and qualitative research was conducted. If you have any questions not covered on this page, contact Rebecca Hill for more information.

Research Phases

We structured our research in sequential phases, allowing us to build on findings and pursue interesting results as we progressed.

Preliminary qualitative

2 groups, May 2022, Greater Manchester area

The groups were used to understand comprehension of R&D as a topic, exploring: people’s baseline understanding of R&D as a concept, how it is funded and supported, and where it is carried out.

Preliminary quantitative

N=2,037, in field 20-27 May 2022

The first quantitative research phase established a baseline for some of the key attitudes we would explore further in Phase 3. We piloted some of the question formats which would form the core of the Phase 3 work, including on messages, messengers and views on the various terminology for describing R&D.

Main quantitative

N=8,474, in field 20-27 July 2022

This nationally-representative sample of over 8,000 people anchors much of our analysis, and allows us to produce granular demographic splits on awareness and attitudes towards R&D. The large sample also supports split-sample questions while maintaining robust sample sizes, allowing us to test different arguments and messengers in isolation. This data set underpins the attitudinal segmentation, explored further in the Segmentation section.

Main qualitative

12 groups, December 2022, various locations (specified)

The main qualitative phase of the research involved 12 focus groups across different parts of the UK, exploring the ways in which a campaign for R&D would be received. The focus groups were recruited to cross demographic groups, and to ensure representation from the attitudinal segments defined in Phase 3.

Pre-Launch quantitative

N=4,005 (10-20 Feb 2023); N=4,053 (10-19 Feb 2023)

Shortly before the publication of the data in February 2023, we re-tested several key questions to check for deviation from the 2022 results, and draw in the latest examples of Government R&D narratives since the establishment of a Department for Science, Innovation and Technology in 2023.

Terminology and political quantitative

N=2,050 (14-7 Oct 2023)

Towards the halfway point of the Discovery Decade project, we sought to further understand attitudes towards different terminologies, with a focus on “Research and Development” and “Research and Innovation”. In addition, we tested a set of politically-focused questions ahead of the upcoming 2024 General Election, as well as exploring attitudes towards the time-lags and negative or positive framings.

Details of quantitative and qualitative methods

Use the drop down sections below to explore specific methodology details for how we conducted our quantitative and qualitative work.