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Content types on the ONS website Methodology


Methodology article pages present information on the methods and sources the ONS uses to produce statistics. This includes but is not limited to:

  • Quality and Methodology Information (QMI) reports
  • Quality Assurance of Administrative Data (QAAD) reports
  • methodology guides and documents
  • user guides
  • glossaries (concepts and definitions)

They can be published alongside a bulletin or article to provide more detailed background information on data sources, and methods of data collection and analysis. They can also provide more detail on other aspects of quality such as accuracy, reliability and comparability. Methodology articles should not be used to present data or analysis.

Here are some examples of different types of methodology articles:

We currently only have a detailed template for QMI reports. See the following section for more detail.

Important information:

We hope to produce more detailed methodology guidance and templates in the future. If you are unsure how to structure your methodology article, email  (opens in a new tab) 

QMI reports

All regular, established bulletins must have a Quality and Methodology Information (QMI) report published alongside them. This is the main product we use to communicate about the methods, sources and quality of our data and statistics to our users.

QMI reports do not need to be updated with every edition of your bulletin. However, they should be reviewed regularly and updated whenever there is a change to data collection method or quality of the data.

Important information:

Email (opens in a new tab)  for the latest QMI template or if you need help with your QMI report

Structuring your methodology article

As methodology content can often be complex and detailed, it is important to write as clearly as possible. Avoid complex terms and jargon where possible, or offer simpler alternatives or descriptions. Read more about plain language

Write with your user in mind and structure your content in a logical way, placing the most important information first. Ensure that your section headings are clear and descriptive, telling the user what they can expect to find in each section, and avoid generic section headings such as Introduction, Background and Conclusion.

We do not currently have detailed guidance for producing methodology content, however, the general rules of best practice for writing for the web still apply. The Content Design team can support you with the structure of your methodology article and review drafts to ensure your content is meeting user needs.

Read more about how to identify your users' needs, as well as using the inverted pyramid

Page functionality

Methodology article pages are stand-alone and cannot be built in a series. Content on these pages is replaced as information is revised. These pages should not be used to present changes to a method where a series of articles is needed to show development over time. There is no previous edition, but the “last revised” date shows when it was last updated.

These pages also allow you to add related downloads on the right-hand side. Avoid including any content that is PDF-only unless it has been agreed as an exception (for example, samples of the census questionnaire, which need to be published in the format they were used). These downloads can also be linked to from the text with clear link text that tells the user where the link will take them; this should also include the file type and size.

Read more about when to use PDF documents and how to design accessible PDFs

Help improve this page

Let us know how we could improve this page, or share your user research findings. Discuss this page on GitHub (opens in a new tab)