Professor Sir Roger Jowell, one of Britain’s foremost quantitative and qualitative social researchers, died (aged 69) at his home in the Forest of Dean on 25 December 2011, following a heart attack. A private funeral was held on 3 January 2012, with a public memorial to be arranged.
Jowell was born in South Africa on 26 March 1942 and read politics at the University of Cape Town, before moving to London to commence a career in market research, initially with Research Surveys of Great Britain.
In 1969 he co-founded, with Gerald Hoinville, Social and Community Planning Research, renamed the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen) in 1999, running it until his retirement in 2001. This not-for-profit organization has undertaken numerous surveys touching on religion, reflected in the 36 entries spanning 1974-2011 which will be found in the BRIN sources database.
Jowell will be particularly remembered for his association with four major survey programmes: British Social Attitudes (which he founded in 1983), International Social Survey Program (for which he was founding chair in 1984-89), British Election Studies (which he co-directed between 1983 and 2000), and European Social Survey (which he co-founded in 2001). All have generated significant religion-related data.
Jowell was a major figure in the wider social research profession, pioneering methodological and ethical innovations. He initiated the Social Research Association (SRA) in 1978. He became increasingly influential in policy-making and political circles, becoming an adviser to Tony Blair’s Labour administration (2001-05) and deputy chair of the UK Statistics Authority from 2008. He was appointed CBE in 2001 and KBE in 2008.
Formal obituaries have appeared thus far in The Times, 2 January 2012 and Daily Telegraph, 6 January 2012. Various online tributes have also been published, including on the NatCen and SRA websites.