SRA Interviews


My Career by Andrew Phelps

Andrew Phelps is a principal research officer at ONS and is commissioning editor of the quarterly SRA magazine ‘Research Matters’.

Andrews advice to anyone considering a career in social research is to spend some time learning about the breadth of the industry in order to help decide where you might want to work.

My Career by Georgina Culliford

Georgina Culliford is a Senior Research Executive at Qa Research and a member of the SRA North committee.

Her advice to a young person considering a career in social research is: 'Talk to people in the sector! There are so many different ways to be a social researcher that you might not have heard of. As a student, I thought my options were academia or civil service; while these are huge parts of the industry, there’s so much more to it!'

My Career by Dale Hall

Dale Hall is founder and chair of Opinion Research Services (ORS).

His advice to a young person considering a career in social research is: ‘Research can be urgent, important and problematic, so it is not an easy way to earn a living; but the answers can be rewarding – if you like research. Be prepared to take responsibility: ask the big questions, give the best answers you have, even when they are unwelcome to clients, and think about outcomes of social policies, not just processes and outputs’.

My Career by Jenni Brooks

Dr. Jenni Brooks is a Senior Lecturer in Sociology at Sheffield Hallam University, and Co-chair of SRA North.

Her advice to anyone setting out in social research is to pay attention: ‘There is always something to learn from the people you work with (even if it's just how not to be like them). Try job shadowing to get a feel for what different research roles are like. Take part in research yourself to see what it's like on the other side of the fence. Ask people about how they got where they are - you can never predict where your career will go’.

My Career by Cheryl Lloyd

Cheryl Lloyd is Programme Head at the Nuffield Foundation, where she leads the research portfolio relating to young people, focusing on educational disadvantage, teaching quality, young people’s pathways and skills.

Cheryl’s favourite quote is: ’What problem are we trying to solve? How do we know it is a real problem? How will we know when we’ve fixed it?’

My Career by Alun Humphrey

Alun Humphrey is Director of Household Surveys at NatCen Social Research having previously worked in commercial market research.

His advice to anyone considering a social research career is to spend some time early on working at a research agency, as this will provide hands-on experience of the practicalities of undertaking research, including the actual data collection process.

My Career by Martina Vojtkova

Martina Vojtkova is director of evaluation at NatCen and a trustee on the SRA Board. In this interview she explains what motivated her various career moves, including her involvement in supporting international research teams in the production of high quality systematic reviews of development interventions.

My Career by Kevin Pickering

Kevin Pickering is head of statistics, public affairs, Ipsos MORI. In this interview he talks about his career journey.  Reflecting on his advice to anyone considering a social research career, Kevin considers himself very lucky:

‘The work is intellectually fulfilling and is often fun. If you seize the opportunities, you will learn a lot, and continue to learn throughout your career. Also, it really is true that most of the people who work in social research are lovely’.