1. How can I take part in the Online Opinions and Lifestyle Study?

Visit our Opinions and Lifestyle study page and enter the unique access code found on your invitation letter. If you require help, please phone us for free on 0800 298 5313. You do not need any specialist knowledge to take part.

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2. Introduction

The Opinions and Lifestyle Survey is an omnibus service that allows our clients to obtain data for collections that would normally be considered too small to justify the costs incurred with undertaking a stand-alone survey. Our clients provide us with a set (or module) of questions that they want to ask the population. We do the rest of the work, designing and testing the questionnaire, collecting the data using our in-house telephone operations unit, cleaning the data and delivering a dataset that can be used for data analysis.

The Opinions and Lifestyle Omnibus Service prides itself on the following:

  • 1,100 achieved sample size (average) each month

  • simple, clear and transparent charging policy

  • flexibility – anything from one to up to 40 questions allowed as standard

  • a wide selection of classificatory variables (data breakdowns) available, including geographical, social and employment characteristics

  • proven track record – in producing nationally important statistics (including National Statistics and official statistics)

  • free expert advice – on question design and analysis

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3. Survey information

Survey design
Data collection method
Respondents are invited to take part through an online self-completion questionnaire. Alternatively if required one of our highly skilled interviewers will conduct the interview by telephone.
Eight months per year (January, February, April, May, July, August, October, November)
Sample size
1,100 interviews achieved each month on average
Sample scope
All persons aged 16 years and over living in private households in Great Britain
Number of questions per module
We can accommodate small to medium-sized collections from one question up to 40 questions

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4. How do I commission a module?

To commission a module please email us at omnibus@ons.gov.uk. Please include, if possible, the following information:

  • the topic(s) of the module

  • the number of questions you want to ask and, if known, the question content

  • the month(s) in which you want to run

  • the purpose of collecting the data

You can also call our survey manager on +44 (0)1633 456519.  

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5. What can I ask on the survey?

We have capacity for 30 minutes of client questions in each month that the survey runs. Your questions can cover almost any topic that you may be interested in and can be opinion or fact-based. The ONS Omnibus Service is particularly relevant for:

  • evaluating the effectiveness of awareness campaigns

  • establishing social and political attitudes

  • identifying the prevalence of certain behaviours

  • evaluating levels of service satisfaction

  • measuring consumption of goods or services

  • testing or piloting questions before they are used in larger-scale surveys

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6. What do I get with my data?

Our client deliveries consist of the following:

  • dataset – a respondent-level, anonymised dataset that contains the client and classificatory variables for each respondent

  • report – a high-level survey report for the month that contains technical information; response rates; frequency counts for both the client and classificatory variables; and questionnaire documentation, which details the routing and text for the client and classificatory variables

  • standard errors – an Excel file displaying the sampling errors for the client and classificatory variables

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7. Additional services

We offer a number of additional services to clients. Our experienced team of social researchers provides expert advice on question design and development.

In addition to our standard omnibus service, we are also able to offer the following services:

  • questionnaire design – for those who do not feel confident drafting and developing questions, we can design questions for you based on your specifications

  • analysis and report writing service – we can analyse the data and produce a report on the findings

Please contact the team to find out more about these services.

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8. Survey methodology

The Opinions and Lifestyle Survey is conducted using a robust and innovative methodology. The sampling frame for the survey is based on individuals who have participated in the Labour Force Survey, the UK’s largest regular household study. This methodology has been developed through intensive research and testing, and offers a level of detail and data quality not available through random location, quota-based omnibus sampling approaches.

Our methodology adheres to the Code of Practice for Statistics and we produce publications from the survey that have been designated with National Statistics status.

Further detail on our methodology can be found in our ONS Omnibus Service methodology document.

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9. 2019 Opinions and Lifestyle Omnibus Service client timetable

Survey month1 Questions agreed2 Data collection Data processing Results delivered
April 22 February 2019 April May 7 June 2019
July 30 May 2019 July August 30 August 2019
August 27 June 2019 August September 27 September 2019
September 25 July 2019 September October 25 October 2019
November 26 September 2019 November December 10 January 2020
January 28 November 2019 January February 28 February 2020
February 19 December 2019 February March 27 March 2020

1. The survey does not run in March, June, September or December.
2. Formal commissioning, including the supplying of draft questions, should be agreed with the Omnibus team prior to final agreement of questions.

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10. Contact us

If you have any questions or would like to find out more about any of the services that we offer please contact our Omnibus service manager via email at omnibus@ons.gov.uk or by telephone on (+44) 01633 456519.

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