A History of the Ministry of Information, 1939-46




The population sampled is the adult civilian population of Great Britain, an “adult” being a person of eighteen years of age or over.

On your quota sheet you are told how many men and women you should interview in different occupation groups, and how many people you should interview in different towns or areas. It is left to you to distribute interviews with people in different occupation groups between the towns or areas given as is most suitable.

Age quotas are not set, except for housewives. Bearing in mind that anybody of 18 years or over may be interviewed, try and get a good representation of different age groups. About half should be under 45 and half over 45, About 11% should be under 25 and about 16% over 65.

The choice of rural areas is left to you. Any area around a town in which you are working may be chosen. Only interviews made in villages, or right out in the country, should be classified as rural. Interviews made on the outskirts of towns should count as urban and belonging to that town.

Selecting Workers

Workers should be interviewed at their place of work. Do not interview more than four workers from any one work-place. When you have obtained the co-operation of the management of a work-place select the workers on a random principle. If a list of workers can be obtained pick out one in every so many. If there is no list and you have to select workers on the spot, guard against any bias entering into your choice. On no account allow the manager or foreman to choose workers for you.

Selecting Housewives

On your quota sheet you are told how many housewives to interview in three economic groups. Choose suitable streets and as usual ascertain the wage-rate of the chief wage earner in the family before classifying the economic group. Do not interview more than five housewives in the same street.

The age groups are meant as a guide and need not be kept to strictly.

Retired and Unoccupied.

It is important that the correct number of retired and unoccupied people should be included, so please make sure that you get the full number set. You will have to use ingenuity in finding these. They may be interviewed in the homes of housewives you visit in getting your housewife quota or elsewhere.

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Definition of Occupation in Groups

Housewife . The person in the household who is mainly responsible for the housekeeping provided she is not a full-time worker. Women who are responsible for housekeeping and also go out to work full-time should be classified according to their jobs outside the home. Women who are responsible for housekeeping and go out to work part-time (less than 30 hours per week) should be classified as housewives.

Agriculture. Agricultural labourers and farmers who work on their farms. Owners of farms who do not work on the farm themselves but only direct the work of employees should be classified as “Managerial”. Market gardeners, private gardeners. (Fishermen, if interviewed, should also be included in their group.)

Mining . Mainly coal miners. Men mining other material or working quarries, if interviewed, should be included here.

Factory workers. All operatives in factories. Charge-hands and foremen in factories if not in charge of more than 20 workers.

Building, Transport and public Services. Builders and builders’ labourers, those engaged in road repairing or house repairing.

Workers on railways, buses, trams, tubes, canals and docks. drivers carrying goods for wholesale trade should be counted as “transport” but drivers of vans for retail firms count as “distributive”. “Public Services” are mainly gas, water and electricity concerns.

About half the quota set should be taken from the building group and about half from the transport and public services group.


Clerical. Clerks shorthand-typist, etc. All workers in offices except manual workers, supervisors or managers, whether the office is attached to a factory shop or mine or whether it is situated separately. Cashiers at shops should be counted as clerical. (Not more than one fifth of clerical workers interviewed should be interviewed at factories or mines.)

Distributive. Shop assistants, owners of small shops (employing not more than two assistants), roundsmen and women, drivers of vans for shops.

Miscellaneous. Workers in hotels, public houses, restaurants, cinemas, other entertainments and laundries (Managers and clerks excluded). Civil Defence workers, policemen, cleaners of offices and shops, domestic servants, window cleaners, jobbing carpenters, chimney sweeps, postmen or women etc.

Professional and Managerial.

Professional: Doctors, dentists, nurses, teachers, lawyers, clergymen, higher grade technicians, engineers, research workers, university students, welfare workers, etc.

Managerial: Works managers, managers of shops, owners of shops employing more than two assistants, supervisory and managerial staff of offices, directors of businesses, administrative grade civil servants or local Government servants, etc.

Half the quota in this group should be professional and half managerial. If the quota is an odd number take the extra one in the managerial group for preference.

Retired and Unoccupied. All people, except housewives, who are not employed or engaged in a business or profession.

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