Frequently Asked Questions
One easy way is to visit the Neighbourhood Statistics website. This page allows us to find detailed information, for different areas, at different levels – national, regional, local and neighbourhood.
Two options are available.
First, enter the name of your area, or your full postcode. Then select the geography for which you want the information. This could be Local Authority, Council Ward, Parliamentary Constituency, or so-called lower layer super output area. Each one houses about 1500 people and is usually what people mean by their ‘area’.
Data on the religious mix can be found under the heading ‘People and Society: Income and Lifestyles’. This can be compared with other areas, or national or regional averages.
Secondly, enter your full postcode, to find the full range of summary statistics for your neighbourhood. The data on religion are available under the ‘People’ category.
Click here to explore a range of charts and maps illustrating the religious mix of Great Britain.
If you want to create a chart which is not available here, go to Neighbourhood Statistics or other datacentres and extract data to create your own. We can’t provide this service on an individual basis. But contact us with suggestions if you have ideas for charts and maps which you think other people might also value.
Different datasets have different access requirements.
For datasets stored with the ESDS, we have given the serial number (where known) to help you find it in the ESDS catalogue.
If you work or study at a UK higher or further education institute, you can use your institutional login to access the data.
If not, you can apply for a UK Data Archive username and password. This will then allow you to download datasets.
There are some restrictions. If you are a commercial user, charges may apply. Further, only users at UK institutions of higher and further education can access ESDS International macrodata, or data from the ESRC Census Programme.
If you only wish to explore data online, you can also use the ESDS Nesstar Catalogue. For selected datasets, this allows you to look at what questions were asked, and other information collected, and the response frequencies. If you are a registered non-commercial user you can also create tabulations, run some simple analyses and create maps, without having to use statistical software.
The European Social Survey is archived here.
The World Values Survey is available here.
For government data, there are a wide variety online at both the Office of National Statistics website and the National Statistics Publication Hub. The recently-launched data.gov.uk is an excellent and growing resource.
For data which have been collected by government bodies which is not freely available online or in hard copy, it may be possible to access them by making a Freedom of Information request.
Opinion poll data
A good deal of data is available online at polling companies’ own websites, as well as reports of the headline results. However, you may have to approach polling firms directly to access particular reports, and some may not be available for public use. The
The Roper Center also has an extensive collection of datasets from surveys of public opinion, which can be accessed through individual or institutional subscription.
4. I have created datasets and questionnaire forms from my own research. Could they be archived here?
Unfortunately, BRIN doesn’t have the resources to host datasets as a general rule, or questionnaire forms unless they are particularly rare and historically important, and at risk of being lost permanently.
The UK Data Archive has a specific process for researchers who want to offer data for deposit. UKDA also offer a great deal of advice on the data curation process.
Academic researchers could also look to their home institution which may have or be developing a digital repository where datasets and documentation could be stored. The Directory of Open Access Repositories, or OpenDOAR, lists UK institutions with open access repositories.
Another alternative is www.academia.edu, where researchers can upload material such as papers, books and survey documentation – although not, as yet, datasets. This site is particularly useful for independent researchers.
If you know of an important statistical source that is not listed in the BRIN database, click here for a copy of the submission form in Microsoft Word format. Please provide as much information as you can. We may edit this before inclusion, but you will be acknowledged as the source contributor.
We have a selection policy on what sources should be listed in the database. In general, they must quantitative in nature, and national in scope rather than purely local, unless they are of particular interest. Furthermore, they should relate to religion in Britain, rather than Ireland or Northern Ireland after 1922, or former British territories. More detail is available here.
6. My PhD uses the British Social Attitudes survey of 2004 to examine religion and attitudes to welfare. Can it be added to the secondary sources list in the database?
Yes! Please fill out this form, using additional copies if you published any other works using the data.
Any published work which uses data included in the catalogue can be added in this way. See Question 5 above if you use data sources which are not included in the catalogue, and think they might be useful to others.
We can point you to sources and texts in general terms – but can’t do actual research or analysis for you.
If you are searching hard for a source which you believe to exist, and need further advice beyond that available in the catalogue, feel free to contact us.
8. Why do you have more information about Christians rather than Muslims, Hindus and other world religions?
This is partly a legacy of Britain having been almost wholly Christian until the 1960s. Furthermore, questions on religious affiliation were not included on many surveys until the 1980s and the Census only began doing so in 2001.
It also partly reflects the structures and information gathering of different religious organisations. Some Christian faith groups collect a great deal of information on members; others do not. Islam, for example, is not organised hierarchically – there is no central organisation which governs mosques, imams or mosque ‘members’.
It can also be difficult to define whether an organisation is faith-based, or predominantly ethnic, cultural or lifestyle-based.
However, data availability is likely to change in future. Faith communities of all traditions may begin gathering more data. The Government is also sponsoring more surveys of faith communities.
Finally, innovative methods of information gathering are being developed, such as analysis of names to assess the size of religious communities, or webometrics. Such new methods may help provide data – particularly of niche groups – where government sources, surveys or faith organisations cannot.
If you are citing any of the text, such as the Guide Essays, cite with reference to the author, the title of the relevant text, the URL and the date accessed.
For example: C. D. Field, ‘Religious Statistics in Great Britain: An Historical Introduction’, British Religion in Numbers [http://www.brin.ac.uk/commentary/documents/CDField-History-Religious-Statistics-BRIN001.pdf, accessed 11 November 2009]
If you are citing any of the charts or data tables available online in the Figures section, cite the data as subset by BRIN with the URL and date of accession.
For example: D. Voas, Table 3.2, Religious Affiliation by Birth Cohort, 1983-2008, British Religion in Numbers [http://www.brin.ac.uk/figures/documents/RelAffiliation19832008_002.xls, accessed 11 November 2009]
However, you should also cite the relevant dataset (in this case, the British Social Attitudes survey).