Resources for organisations doing community-based research in Reading

Below are links to national websites and toolkits that could help you plan and carry out your research project, with links to useful resources for further information.  The aim of this site is to signpost organisations to publicly available materials but please note that the content or information is provided by external organisations and not the responsibility of Reading Borough Council or other partners working on Reading’s JSNA.

We are keen to expand this section/library so if you would like to suggest any additional resources or have trouble accessing the links below, please email

1. Thinking about what you want to know

First steps – thinking about exactly what questions you want your report to address and the best ways to find out the answers.

2. Collecting data

Deciding who you should ask to take part in your research and what you need to ask them to get the information you need. Gathering and collating the raw data, such as survey responses and answers given in interviews and focus groups.

Further information about conducting valid and reliable research can be found here (See ‘Reliability and Validity’)

3. Keeping yourself safe

Being careful not to put yourself in any risky situations and making sure you always work in accordance with your organisation’s health and safety and lone worker policies. Contact your organisation to find out what their health and safety and lone worker policies are before you begin your research.

  • If you don’t belong to an organisation, you might like to use the guidelines below to help stay safe.
  • Try to work in small teams if possible.
  • Have a plan of activities, share that plan with a key contact and have a clear process if no-one hears from you within a certain time frame.
  • Try and conduct the research in public spaces as there will be people to help if anything happens.
  • Be contactable – carry a fully charged mobile.
  • Look out for potential risks and have a plan to deal with them or remove yourself from potential danger.

4. Treating research participants fairly and with respect: research ethics

Making sure that those who take part in your project know what the project is about and their role in it; taking care that their identities will not be disclosed and that they aren’t exposed to any harmful, stressful or upsetting experiences; and keeping their information safe and destroying it carefully when you no longer need it.

You may wish to hand out information about the project to those who are interested in taking part and keep a record of those who consent to speak with you and answer your questions, but remember that you will need to keep any personal information secure in accordance with data protection law.

5. Analysis and findings

Drawing together the raw data you have gathered to answer the questions you asked in Step 1 and presenting your findings to the people who will read your report.

Last updated on 10/12/2020