Mass Observation Online

Mass Observation was a pioneering social research organisation whose papers provide insights into the cultural and social history of Britain from 1937-1965. This resource offers online access to every type of Mass Observation material as follows:

  • Diaries, 1939-1967 - full personal diaries kept usually on a daily basis by members of Mass Observation's national panel.
  • Day Surveys, 1937-1939 - one day diaries written by people from all over Britain who volunteered to be members of Mass Observation's national panel of observers.
  • Directive Respondents, 1939-1955 - answers from members of Mass Observation's national panel to the regular 'directive' or open-ended questionnaire on a variety of subjects including personal issues.
  • Directive Questionnaires, 1939-1955 - monthly questionnaires produced by Mass Observation and distributed to members of the volunteer panel.
  • Topic Collections, 1937-1965 - the raw material generated by Mass Observation's studies including questionnaires, interviews, descriptions, correspondence and printed ephemera.
  • Publications, 1937-1965 - books which appeared during Mass Observation's first phase of activity, 1937-1950, as well as two further publications from the 1960s.
  • File Reports, 1937-1951 - original typed reports providing a top level summary of Mass Observation methods and conclusions of Mass Observation studies.
  • Worktown Collection, 1937-1940 - study of Bolton and Blackpool, known as the Worktown Project.


Access is available directly from this page by connecting to the Mass Observation Online website - you'll be prompted to log in to MUSE as necessary.


If you experience any difficulties in using this eResource please call the Library Help Service on extension 27200 or email