UK Data Service data catalogue record for:

BBC Great British Class Survey, 2011-2013

Title details

SN: 7616
Title: BBC Great British Class Survey, 2011-2013
Persistent identifier: 10.5255/UKDA-SN-7616-1
Depositor: British Broadcasting Corporation
Principal investigator(s): Savage, M., London School of Economics and Political Science. Department of Sociology
Devine, F., University of Manchester. Manchester Business School
Data collector(s): British Broadcasting Corporation
Laurison, D., London School of Economics and Political Science. Department of Sociology
Cunningham, N., University of Manchester. Centre for Research on Socio-Cultural Change (CRESC)
Taylor, M., University of Sheffield. Department of Sociology
Miles, A., University of Manchester. Centre for Research on Socio-Cultural Change (CRESC)
Li, Y., University of Manchester. Cathie Marsh Institute for Social Research (CMIST)
Wakeling, P., University of York. Department of Education
Sponsor(s): Economic and Social Research Council
British Broadcasting Corporation
Grant number: RES-577-28-0001


The citation for this study is:

Savage, M., Devine, F. (2015). BBC Great British Class Survey, 2011-2013. [data collection]. UK Data Service. SN: 7616,

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Subject Categories

Equality and inequality - Social stratification and groupings
Income, property and investment - Economics
Leisure, tourism and sport - Society and culture
Political behaviour and attitudes - Politics
Social and occupational mobility - Social stratification and groupings
Social attitudes and behaviour - Society and culture


Abstract copyright UK Data Service and data collection copyright owner.

The aim of the Great British Class Survey project was to understand the landscape of class and stratification in contemporary Great Britain. It was a joint project between the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) Lab UK, BBC Current Affairs, and a team of academic researchers. The BBC initiated the research as part of an interest in exploring class dynamics in the UK in a new way, both theoretically and methodologically. Theoretically, the set of questions was inspired by Pierre Bourdieu's 'capitals' approach to social stratification; thus many questions are similar or identical to those in the Culture, Class, and Social Exclusion survey carried out by some of the academic team in 2003-2005. Methodologically, the GBCS was primarily carried out online, and included an interactive component as well as integration into social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. The survey was widely publicized by the BBC, and completed by 326,712 respondents - 298,571 of them in the UK. Because the GBCS was a non-representative, non-random-sample survey, respondents were disproportionately university-educated and higher-income, paralleling the demographics of BBC viewership. A representative sample survey with identical questions was also carried out by the research firm GfK in order to facilitate comparison between GBCS respondents and the population of the UK as a whole.

Further information about the GBCS can be found on the BBC Great British Class Survey webpage. The web survey is no longer online, but the 'class calculator' derived from initial analysis of the GBCS is available there.
Main Topics:
Topics covered in the GBCS and GfK surveys included cultural participation and tastes, social network and social capital, income and occupation, attitudes towards social mobility, media consumption, and political participation.

Coverage, universe, methodology

Dates of fieldwork: January 2011 - July 2013 - (The GfK survey was conducted in April 2011.)
Country: Great Britain
Spatial units: Regions
Observation units: Individuals
Kind of data: Numeric data
Individual (micro) level
Universe: National
The majority of respondents were based in Great Britain, which was the major focus of the study, but as the GBCS was web-based, 28,141 people outside the UK also responded to the survey (see Abstract).
Time dimensions: Cross-sectional (one-time) study
Sampling procedures: Multi-stage stratified random sample; Volunteer sample
The face-to-face GfK survey used a multi-stage stratified random sample. The web-based GBCS was a volunteer sample - see Abstract.
Number of units: GBCS: 326,712 cases. GfK survey: 1,026 cases.
Method of data collection: Face-to-face interview
Web-based survey
Weighting: The GfK survey includes weights to make data representative of UK, but weighting is not applicable to the GBCS web survey.

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Administrative and access information

Date of release:
First edition: 08 April 2015
Copyright: Copyright M. Savage, F. Devine and British Broadcasting Corporation
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 for further information.
Available to all users based in HE/FE institutions, for not-for-profit educational and research purposes only.
Availability: UK Data Service
Contact: Get in touch


Title File Name Size (KB)
GBCS Codebook 7616_gbcs_codebook_eul.xlsx 60
GBCS and GfK Methodology and Technical Notes 7616_methodology_and_technical_notes.pdf 2947
GBCS Questionnaire 7616_questionnaire.pdf 2511
GBCS Screenshots 7616_screenshots.pdf 3079
Study information and citation UKDA_Study_7616_Information.htm 18
READ File read7616.htm 10


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By principal investigator(s):
Savage, M., Devine, F., Cunningham, N., Taylor, M., Li, Y., Hjellbrekke, J., Le Roux, B., Friedman, S. and Miles, A. (2013) 'A new model of social class? Findings from the BBC's Great British Class Survey experiment', Sociology, 47(2), pp.219–50. doi:10.1177/0038038513481128

Resulting from secondary analysis:


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