Introducing the Social Research Association (SRA)

The SRA is the membership association for social researchers, founded in 1978.  Our aims are to promote high quality standards of research, and to represent, support, connect and inform our members and the wider social research community.  To meet these aims we run a wide range of training courses and events, and produce publications and guidelines on research ethics, commissioning, data protection, and more.  The membership is varied with all sectors and disciplines represented, but with a focus on applied research in the UK and Ireland. The SRA is a registered charity no. 1123940.

Benefits of membership



Our comprehensive training programme supports the professional development of social researchers at Foundation and Advanced level. We organise 120+ high quality, competitively priced training courses each year in the UK. Taught by expert practitioners in each subject, our courses cover a wide range of practical qualitative and quantitative methods and skills.  We also partner with NatCen Social Research. All our courses can be booked here.

Members pay £165 instead of £220 per day

Annual Conference:

Our Annual Conference held in December is a major and prestigious event with speakers from many different social research fields.  Recent conferences have covered ‘Social Research in a Sceptical Age’ (2017) and ‘Adapting to Change:  Where Now for Social Research?’ (2018)

Members pay a reduced delegate fee


Events, seminars and workshops:

We run a number of seminars, talks and workshops each year in London, and in Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast/Dublin.  They cover topical issues, often with a focus on research methods, and provide an excellent forum for researchers to meet and discuss issues of mutual concern and to share good practice.  We also hold joint events with other organisations, such as the Cathie Marsh Memorial Lecture shared with the Royal Statistical Society.  These are either free or at a reduced rate for SRA members.

Ethics Consultancy Forum:

Guidance and advice is available for members on ethical dilemmas they are facing.


We represent the views of our members in various forums and actively promote the role of social research in shaping public policy.  Through our links with other organisations, such as The Academy of Social Sciences, ESRC, MRS, NCVO, RSS etc, members have access to a wide range of services and information.


The SRA is known for publishing high quality, high profile publications.  Examples include the Guide to Commissioning Social Research, Ethical Guidance and Data Protection Guidelines. These are freely available on our website.  We keep members informed of new developments in social research, via the quarterly Research Matters magazine.  Website visitors can sign up to receive a fortnightly e-newsletter containing articles of topical interest, notifications of new blog posts, and emails about events, training and more.  We also publish a  biannual e-journal, Social Research Practice. All members are welcome to submit contributions and ideas to our publications.  


SRA Scotland, SRA Cymru, SRA Ireland and SRA North:

Our regional branches  and group are well-established and organise events and seminar programmes of particular interest to locally based social researchers.  




How is the SRA run? 

The SRA is a registered charity and limited liability company run by and for its members.  Any member can stand for election to the Board of Trustees, which is elected by the membership. The Board is responsible for developing SRA policy and for managing the work of several sub-committees that advise on the development of services.   All the invaluable work undertaken by members in these committees is on a voluntary basis.  If you are interested in getting involved, please contact us.

How is the SRA funded?

Most of our income comes from fees for membership, training courses, and events. Other income comes from advertising job vacancies.  

Who are the members?

SRA members are from universities and colleges, central government and NGOs, the local public sector, research institutes, commercial research companies, the charitable and voluntary sector, social research businesses, and independents and freelancers.  Membership includes students, those who are new to the profession, and some of the most eminent researchers in the field.

SRA members by sector:

Central Government   21%
 Academic / educational (student)  14%
 Charitable / Voluntary / Third sector  11%
 Research agency  10% 
 Independent researcher  11%
 Academic / educational (faculty)  7%
 Social research organisation / institute  6%
 Government agency  8%
 NGO / NDPB  5%
 Local Government  4%
 Other commercial business   2%
 Professional association   1%