The Methodology Group leads on the statistical methods and techniques that underpin all ONS surveys and statistical outputs. We provide advice on best practice and guidance on all parts of the statistical process including:

  • statistical design and infrastructure
  • survey and sample design
  • data linkage
  • estimation
  • disclosure control
  • time series
  • index numbers
  • data editing
  • imputation for missing data
  • census methodology
  • the management and measurement of quality, and
  • harmonisation.

We also provide support on the ONS Address Register and on the geographies and standard classifications that underpin all National Statistics and most other government statistics. We are also leading cutting-edge work looking at the value of ‘Big Data’ for ONS outputs and more widely.

For advice or support on any aspect of statistical methodology please contact the teams below or email: methodology@ons.gov.uk.

Centres of Statistical Expertise

Methodology is made up of several teams which specialise in specific parts of the statistical production process and underpin the statistical infrastructure. The teams include:

Address Register

This team works closely with Ordnance Survey, Royal Mail and those involved in maintaining the National Address Gazetteer to ensure a high quality register of residential and business addresses is available for ONS. The team can be contacted via the Methodology email address: methodology@ons.gov.uk.

Big Data

The Big Data team is leading work to identify how ONS and the Government Statistical Service (GSS) can gain the best value from the use of Big Data. Email: ons.big.data.project@ons.gsi.gov.uk.

Classification and Harmonisation Unit

This team provides support and guidance for the common classifications used in official statistics. These include the Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) and Standard Industrial Classification (SIC).

Data Collection Methodology

This team provides advice on making the best use of the different modes and methods available when collecting data in social and business surveys. Email: dcm@ons.gsi.gov.uk.

Data Editing and Imputation

This team research efficient methods and techniques for detecting and treating errors and missing fields in returned data. They also look at handling non-response. The team can be contacted via the Methodology email address: methodology@ons.gov.uk.

Data Linkage

This new team is developing expertise in techniques for data linkage and are currently evaluating different methods. The team can be contacted via the Methodology email address: methodology@ons.gov.uk.

Data Visualisation

Graphs and maps are a great way of making statistics memorable and meaningful. “A picture paints a thousand words” which makes well-designed graphs or maps an excellent way to share a statistical story. See examples of this multi-award-winning team’s work in the at Visual.ons. The team can be contacted via the Methodology email address: methodology@ons.gov.uk.

Geography

The Geography team provides advice and support on geography to all users of statistics.
Email: ons.geography@ons.gsi.gov.uk
Telephone: +44 (0) 1329 444971

Index Numbers, Prices and Inflation Measurement

This team research and develop methods and techniques for calculating economic indices. For specific help and advice on index numbers, please contact: methodology@ons.gov.uk

Methodology Advisory Service (MAS)

MAS is one of the UK's leading providers of expert methodological advice. Work is undertaken on an individual project basis with services charged on a cost recovery basis. For more information please email: mas@ons.gsi.gov.uk

National Accounts Methods

This team provides advice and support on methodology to the National Accounts area of ONS. The team can be contacted via the Methodology email address: methodology@ons.gov.uk.

Quality Centre

This team provides advice on all aspects of quality management, quality control and quality reporting in official statistics. Email: ons.quality.centre@ons.gov.uk

Sample Design and Estimation

This team develop methods to ensure efficient survey samples, and to derive estimates (including small area estimates) from social and business surveys and sampled data. They are currently planning for the 2021 Census. The team can be contacted via the Methodology email address: methodology@ons.gov.uk.

Statistical Disclosure Control

This team develops methods to ensure that personal information is never revealed, maintaining the confidentiality of data provided to ONS. The team can be contacted via the Methodology email address: methodology@ons.gov.uk.

Statistical Training Service

The Statistical Training Service provides a range of statistical training for ONS and the GSS by in-house trainers and external organisations. Email: statistical.training.enquiries@ons.gsi.gov.uk.

Statistical Computing Branch

This branch provides advice and support for statistical software programs used in producing official statistics. This includes best practice advice for writing and structuring code, checking, and quality assurance of technical solutions. The team can be contacted via the Methodology email address: methodology@ons.gov.uk.

Time Series Analysis

This branch provides advice on methods for the analysis and publication of time series. They also update the models used to seasonally adjust economic time series. Email: TSAB@ons.gov.uk.