Support #495


Added by angela potter-collins about 8 years ago. Updated about 8 years ago.

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Hi all

I think you might need to clarify the Racel variable on your questionnaire. It states in your questionnaire that it is the Census question and it is but it is the census question used in England and Wales. There are different questions used in Scotland and Northern Ireland. So this variable could be used unknowingly to produce UK figures for ethnicity.

For example, as government researchers we use the harmonised standards which have to take into account the requirements of constituent countries when collecting and presenting data. For Northern Ireland, there should not be a ‘White British’ option as a specific requirement of the Good Friday Agreement is that people should not have to choose between 'Northern Irish/British and Irish identities and Irish'. In this instance it would seem that Racelt would be the most appropriate for the UK for ethnicity. It might be useful to have something in your guidance to make users aware of this.


Kind regards



Updated by Victoria Nolan about 8 years ago

  • Status changed from New to In Progress
  • Assignee set to Alita Nandi
  • % Done changed from 0 to 10

Dear Angela,

Many thanks for your enquiry. We are actively looking into this at the moment and we will be able to get back to you very shortly with more details.

Best wishes,


On behalf of the Understanding Society User Support Team


Updated by Alita Nandi about 8 years ago

  • Assignee deleted (Alita Nandi)
  • % Done changed from 10 to 90

Hi Angela,

You are correct it is based on the EW version of the Census ethnic group qusetion. These can still be used to report statistics for all UK countries as all respondents in these regions did answer these same questions. However, it should be clarified that these statistics are based on the England and Wales Census ethnic group question. We will update that in the online documentation and the questionnaire.

The actual categories that respondents were shown are in the showcards for wave 1. You can find this document by clicking on "showcards" in the "fieldwork documents" for wave 1.

Please note there was no "White British" category, although "British" was the first choice in the first category instead of the specific country as in the census quesiton. The first category was:

1. British/English/Scottish/Welsh/Northern Irish

Best wishes,


Updated by Alita Nandi about 8 years ago

  • Assignee set to angela potter-collins

Updated by Victoria Nolan about 8 years ago

  • Assignee changed from angela potter-collins to Alita Nandi

Thanks Angela for your reply - I've added it here as it is a reply to this post rather than a new issue, and I will delete the new issue. I've asssigned this back to Alita to pick up further. It really helps to keep the "trail" of comments in the user forum rather than in emails so we can keep a record of how we have responded to issues and build up information for a future "FAQ". Unfortunately when you reply by email it doesn't autoatically make its way into this database.

Many thanks for flagging this issue and we'll be in touch shortly about taking it forward.

Hi Alita

Thanks very much for getting back to me. The issue for us is not that the same question was asked (which would be straight forward) but that the White options offer the choice between the first one which ultimately we refer to as 'White British' and the second one which is 'White Irish', people have to choose between these two which complicates things when Northern Ireland is concerned. We can aggregate to overall White (with caveats)for a UK output, might be worth a line or two in your guidance about this so users are aware. Happy to comment on these if needed.




Updated by Alita Nandi about 8 years ago

Hi Angela,

Thanks for highlighting this issue.

We are in the process of updating the cateogry labels in the online documentation and the questionnaire to reflect the actual categories shown on the showcard.

We will include a note in our user guides clarifying this issue. We generally recommend using the term white majority or white UK instead of White British.

Best wishes,


Updated by Victoria Nolan about 8 years ago

Hi Alita


White British is accurate and most suitable to use apart from when using data from Northern Ireland, then the use of White is suffice and recommended - White can include white minority groups which could be misleading.




Updated by Victoria Nolan about 8 years ago

  • Status changed from In Progress to Closed
  • % Done changed from 90 to 100

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