Mass Observation

The Mass Observation Project began in 1981 and directives (sets of questions) were sent to correspondents up to four times a year between 1981 and 1990 (Directives summary

).  Below you can find the directives as well as folders of responses from  selected correspondents. Some are handwritten and some are typed and they vary considerably in length.

Professor Dorothy Sheridan has written about the Mass Observation Project in the 1980s in this papers: Description of the 1980s Mass Observation directives


Directive Special Royal Wedding 1981

Directive Summer 1981

Directive Autumn 1981


Directive Spring 1982

Directive Falklands 1982 &  Directive Falklands postscript 1982

Directive Summer 1982

  • Responses to Summer 1982

Directive EEC Special 1982

Directive Autumn – Pocket Money 1982

Directive Winter – Food 1982


Directive Spring – General Election 1983

Directive Summer Work – Work 1983

Directive Autumn – Housework 1983

Directive Winter – Xmas 1983


Directive Spring – Well-being 1984

Directive Summer – Banking 1984

Directive Autumn – USA 1984

Directive Winter – Relatives 1984


Directive Spring 1985


Directive Autumn 1986


Directive Spring 1987

Directive Summer – Holidays 1987

Directive Special General Election 1987

Directive Autumn 1987


Directive Spring – Clothing 1988

Directive Summer 1988

Directive Autumn 1988


Directive Spring 1989

Directive Summer 1989

Directive Autumn 1989


Directive Spring  1990

The responses are stored in Google Drive where you will see a list of folders, one for each correspondent.  Clicking on a folder will take you to a PDF file which you can print or download. Mass Observation correspondents are anonymous – each has a unique reference number and you can more from our metadata

Special Reports

A few correspondents also sent in additional writings, known as special reports, and you can find them in a separate  folder labelled Special Reports.  They are collated by correspondent and you can find out about the topics they address in the metadata table.

Or you can browse by correspondent