The data provided in the demographic section is quantitative - it is a numerical count of factual information. This section focuses on qualitative data, which is concerned with why things are the way they are, and seeks to answer questions such as:

  • why people behave the way they do
  • how opinions and attitudes are formed
  • how people are affected by the events that go on around them
  • how and why cultures have developed in the way they have
  • the difference between social groups
 Qualitative research is essentially about understanding the characteristics of a population or an area.
Data collection for qualitative research usually involves direct intervention with individuals either on a one-to-one basis or in a group setting. Common techniques include undertaking surveys, running focus groups, maintaining activity diaries, and conducting market research.

Before conducting any qualitative research, please refer to the explanatory brief on Data Protection.

Northumberland County Council appointed Ipsos MORI to conduct a residents’ perception survey in  October 2015.
The survey covered the following topics:
  • satisfaction with the local area and council services
  • how people get involved in their local area and whether they feel they belong
  • the economy and the impact on household finances
  • general health and feelings of wellbeing
The survey used questions from the place survey (undertaken in 2008) and the 2012 residents’ perception survey. This allows for comparable questions and the ‘direction of travel’ for Northumberland to be established.
The findings of the survey are provided in the following documents: The next survey should take place in Autumn 2018

If you would like information relating to the 2012 residents' perception survey, please email
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has produced a classification of the population for areas across the UK.
Using socioeconomic and demographic data from the Census, it classifies people living in different areas of the country who share similar characteristics.
Further information, data and maps can be found in Area Classifications
What is a people's panel?
The Northumberland people’s panel is a representative consultative body of local residents, used to help identify local priorities and to consult service users and non-users on specific issues. It gives residents a chance to have their say about life in Northumberland and local public services.

Using a people's panel can overcome issues relating to duplication, response rates, cost, and time, and helps promote local democracy by encouraging residents to have a bigger say in matters of concern. The results of these consultations are used to identify key issues and inform decision-making.

How does it work?
  • The panel will be contacted up to four times a year, mainly using postal questionnaires although there may be additional telephone surveys, focus groups, or online surveys.
  • Members of the panel do not receive payment for participation in panel activities, but will be reimbursed for any travel expenses if attending focus groups or forums.
  • The panel will not replace other forms of public consultation. A people's panel is not always the best way to gather views on specific issues, but it is a good way of gaining community views.
  • Regular feedback and action taken will be available on the Northumberland County Council website.
  • Each Northumberland County Council department is given the opportunity to include questions in the survey.
  • A small number of questions are repeated in each survey that takes place to track trends of people’s perceptions of the council. These are similar to questions included in the place survey carried out in 2009.
  • SMSR (social and market strategic research) have been commissioned to recruit and manage the panel.
  • Members will usually stay on the panel for three years, but can opt out at any time. The panel membership will be refreshed with 330 new members each year and more frequently if necessary.
  • Information provided by panel members will be used only for research and consultation purposes and the published results will not give out details of individuals.
The Northumberland people's panel is a pool of 1,100 residents, chosen to be representative of the county’s population in terms of age, gender, ethnicity, disability, and geographical area.More information and results about the Northumberland people’s panel is available here
The Active People Survey tracks the number of people taking part in sport and wider physical activity in England.
Further information and statistics can be found at Sport England
ONS carry out an annual survey on personal wellbeing, often known as the Happiness Survey.
They estimate life satisfaction, whether you feel the things you do in life are worthwhile, happiness and anxiety in the UK and for constituent countries for the period October  to September. The latest survey results were published in January 2017