Although the content of the different surveys carried out in NI and GB is extremely diverse, there are usually a range of key questions which are asked in many surveys. Survey Harmonisation is an attempt to standardise across surveys, where possible, the way we ask such key questions and how we present the results for these questions.
A cross-governmental programme of work, led by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), has been leading this harmonisation process and full details of it can be obtained from the link above.
Considerable efforts have already been made to standardise how a few key questions are asked across surveys, but further harmonisation is still needed. This is because most surveys were designed at different times, to meet different needs, and as a result were developed to a significant degree in isolation from each other, which lead to differences in:
- concepts and definitions
- fieldwork and processing practices
The aim of the harmonisation process is to overcome these differences and, as a result, make it easier for users to draw clearer and more robust comparisons between data sources.