The Archive of Market and Social Research – a great key to learning

By Ray Poynter, 13 June 2023

My mind has been blown away by what I saw this evening at an AMRS event in London. AMRS (Archive of Market and Social Research) is a freely accessible collection of research materials going back decades, and I was delighted to be invited to attend. Please check out the Archive by clicking here.

Adam Phillips

AMSR CEO Adam Phillips

One of the keynote speakers was Sir John Curtice (Professor of Politics, Strathclyde University). Professor Curtice had been studying attitudes towards the British Royal Family and had been stuck in the 1980s, until it was pointed out that the Archive has NOP bulletins dating back to 1969. You can access the 1969 record in the archive by clicking here.

Another keynote presenter was Jane Hamlett (Professor of Modern British History, Royal Holloway University of London). Professor Hamlett showed how accessing a qual debrief on cat owners from the 1970s (on moist cat food) had informed her research.

Other speakers included two industry stalwarts, AMSR Chief Executive Adam Phillips and Head of Content Phyllis MacFarlane. And I’d like to give a shout-out to sponsor OvationMR, and it was great to see Jim Whaley, Michel Jones and Joe Jordan.

Phyllis MacFarlane

AMSR Head of Content Phyllis MacFarlane

The archive is massive and is growing, and it is a resource that many, perhaps most of you, will find useful. For example, I am writing a piece about what research can and can’t do.  In the article, I am going to use the Johari Window as a framework for what sorts of techniques we can use in different situations and the ethical considerations we need to take into account. So, I typed Johari Window into the search and it came up with a great paper by Mike Imms from the 1999 AQRP Conference.

So What?
If you are looking for questions, if you are looking for explanations of methodologies, if you are looking for comparative statistics, if you are looking for insights, then the archive can help you. The next time you have a problem that would cause you to use Google, or Bard, or ChatGPT – try the AMSR archive and see if the answer is hiding in plain sight.

There are lots of ways you can help, for example by donating old reports and even better by donating money. But to start with, I suggest you try it out, and I suggest you pass the message on, especially to younger researchers and insight professionals.

What about ANA?
Those of you who are ESOMAR members will know (or should know) about ANA, ESOMAR’s AI-powered database of 75 years of past papers and reports. The good news (for ESOMAR members) is that AMRS and ANA are complementary. ANA will give you a wider international mix, but (at no cost) the AMSR archive will give you additional material. And, if you are not an ESOMAR member, then maybe ANA is a good reason to join?