Research Programme Overview

At the Office for Statistics Regulation (OSR), our vision is that statistics will serve the public good. To support this vision, in 2019 we established a research programme seeking to deepen our understanding of the public good of statistics. Understanding the public good of statistics does not simply mean defining it or measuring it, but rather increasing our knowledge to continually improve the regulation, support and oversight of the statistical system we provide.

Research programme aims

Our goal is for statistics to serve the public good. The research programme helps support this in two ways. Firstly, by helping us to understand the extent to which this currently happens. Secondly, it uses the evidence gathered about the public good of statistics at present to identify what kinds of changes are needed, and by whom, to ensure that statistics are fully serving the public good.

The ultimate beneficiary of statistics that serve the public good will be society. Research, public debate, and democracy will be enhanced and the public and institutional users of statistics will be in a better position to make informed decisions. Furthermore, findings from our research benefit OSR’s regulators, whose work it aims to support and enhance, and the statistics producers whose work it aims to influence.

Research questions

In 2023, OSR’s research team reviewed internal and external documentation and held discussions with colleagues across the organisation to identify research questions that are important to OSR’s work. Colleagues used their professional expertise as well as discussions they have had with a range of stakeholders through their regulatory work and wider roles to share varied perspectives of what questions may be most valuable to answer at this point in time.  We then used this information to develop a statement on OSR’s Areas of Research Interest, which sets out all the areas we are interested in furthering our understanding. We reviewed our previous Research Programme Overview in line with this and noticed areas where our focus and plans have matured. We now consider our Areas of Research Interest as showing the most current areas where our research interests lie, and propose that answering any of these questions will help us to better understand how statistics can serve the public good.

Research process

Our research programme is flexible in how we answer the questions set out in our Areas of Research Interest statement. For example, we procure some research projects, we collaborate with partners on others, we undertake secondary research (reviewing existing evidence), and as an organisation OSR also looks across regulatory work to identify useful insights as well. If you would like to work with us, please feel free to explore the collaboration section in the introduction to our Areas of Research Interest, and we welcome you to contact us at

Research programme deliverables

Since launching in 2019, our research programme has published multiple pieces of research and blog posts.

Research programme next steps

In answering the questions set out in our Areas of Research Interest statement we will draw on evidence and build collaborative relationships across the statistical system and beyond. We will also support others to translate what we learn into useful materials to work towards our vision that statistics serve the public good. We are currently focussing our research programme on expanding knowledge in the If you would like to know more about any of our work, or to get involved, please contact us at