UK Data Service data catalogue record for:

Attitudes to Genetically Modified Foods, 2009

Title details

SN: 6616
Title: Attitudes to Genetically Modified Foods, 2009
Alternative title: Attitudes to GM Foods
Persistent identifier: 10.5255/UKDA-SN-6616-1
Depositor: National Centre for Social Research
Principal investigator(s): National Centre for Social Research
Sponsor(s): Food Standards Agency
Other acknowledgements: Researchers from the Qualitative Research Unit at the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen) worked on this project, including: William O'Conner (Director); Clarissa Penfold (Research Director); Ruth Sheldon, Robin Legard and Caroline Turley (Senior Researchers); Nicola Cleghorn (Researcher); and Ashley Brown and Thomas Newmark (Research Assistants).


The citation for this study is:

National Centre for Social Research. (2010). Attitudes to Genetically Modified Foods, 2009. [data collection]. UK Data Service. SN: 6616,

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Subject Categories

Consumer behaviour - Economics
Environmental and conservation issues - Environment, conservation and land use
Nutrition - Health


Abstract copyright UK Data Service and data collection copyright owner.

This is a qualitative data collection. The study was designed to build on the findings of previous Food Standards Agency (FSA) work and specifically aimed to:
  • explore why people hold particular views to GM food
  • better understand how people's attitudes to genetically modified (GM) food are formed
  • explore how people weigh up the risks and benefits associated with GM food
  • better understand what causes people to be indifferent to GM food
  • explore the circumstances in which people change their views
These objectives were met using a three-stage research design. Firstly, in-depth interviews were held with 30 respondents to the British Social Attitudes, 2008* (BSA) survey, in two geographical areas, to explore what shapes attitudes to GM food. Secondly, two deliberative workshops were held with the interviewed respondents to further understand attitude shaping and explore the impact of receiving information about GM food. Finally, six follow-up telephone interviews explored participants' experience of the research process. Purposive sampling ensured diversity in attitudes to GM food as expressed in the BSA survey, in relation to relevant socio-demographic factors.

Further information about the research, including links to reports, may be found on the NatCen Public Attitudes to GM Foods and FSA Public Attitudes to GM Foods project web pages.

*The British Social Attitudes Survey, 2008 is held at the UK Data Archive under SN 6390.

Main Topics:
The interviews covered background and personal circumstances; attitudes and behaviour in relation to food in general; awareness of and views about food production; knowledge, awareness and understanding of GM foods; attitudes towards GM foods; what kind of further information on GM interviewees would find useful.

Coverage, universe, methodology

Dates of fieldwork: May 2009 - July 2009
Country: England | Scotland
Spatial units: No spatial unit
Observation units: Individuals
Kind of data: Textual data
Individual (micro) level
in-depth interview transcripts (semi-structured, in that an interview topic guide was used).
Universe: National
Interviews were conducted with 30 respondents to the British Social Attitudes survey (who had agreed to be recontacted), drawn from two geographic areas chosen by the research team. See report for further details.
Time dimensions: Cross-sectional (one-time) study
Sampling procedures: Purposive selection/case studies
Number of units: 30 interviews
Method of data collection: Face-to-face interview
Weighting: Not applicable.

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Administrative and access information

Date of release:
First edition: 02 November 2010
Copyright: Crown copyright material is reproduced with the permission of the Controller of HMSO and the Queen's Printer for Scotland
Access conditions: The depositor has specified that registration is required and standard conditions of use apply. The depositor may be informed about usage. See terms and conditions of access for further information.
Availability: UK Data Service
Contact: Get in touch


Title File Name Size (KB)
Data Listing 6616ulist.xls 34
User Guide 6616uguide.pdf 1532
Data Listing 6616ulist.pdf 14
Study information and citation UKDA_Study_6616_Information.htm 18
READ File read6616.htm 3
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By principal investigator(s):
Sheldon, R., Cleghorn, C., Penfold, C., Brown, A. and Newmark, T. (2009) Exploring attitudes to GM food: final report, prepared for the Social Science Research Unit, Food Standards Agency. This report is included in the documentation.

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