Niall @ YouGov

Niall reflects on his placement at data analytics firm YouGov in their Political and Social team.

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About the placement

During my work placement at YouGov I did many interesting things that relate directly to the skills I have developed on my degree. The first week mainly involved getting used to all the various programmes that YouGov uses. This varied from Microsoft Excel to SPSS to the in house software that they have for producing questionnaires called Gryphon. There was also a programme used for coding open-ended questions called Ascribe. All these programmes were relatively new to me when I first joined, but after six weeks of using them on a daily basis, I became much more confident using them all.

Over the course of the next couple of weeks, I was entrusted to do different jobs within the YouGov Political and Social team. These jobs were for different clients who used YouGov’s services and included Channel 5, Lord Ashcroft, Centre for Social Justice and The Times newspaper, with each client rendering me with a variety of tasks I had to complete.

What Niall worked on

One of these tasks was coding using the programme Ascribe. This involved coding responses for a question Lord Ashcroft ran called ‘Why has your opinion of the Conservative Party become less favourable?’ There were nearly 2000 answers which needed sorting into different categories ready for use.

One of the other clients I worked on was Channel 5, who wanted questions about Grenfell Tower and whether people viewed the government’s response to the disaster as good enough. Channel 5's questions were run through the Daily Poll, and the results were given back to Channel 5 who used the data in a press release that they sent to YouGov to check over. I did this by making sure all the statistics were the same ones I gave them and they weren’t presented in a misleading way.

I used SPSS to analyse all the data and weight all the responses by five different measures. This programme was used for the Daily Polling so that each respondent could be weighted properly. These will include all the client questions that have been asked for and arranged, as well as some internal questions that various members of the PR team or the political team wanted to run.

My SMI placement at YouGov was a very interesting experience and I would recommend it to anyone interested in Politics or data or both.

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Why Numbers Matter

SMI's series on why it's important to get numbers right.

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