Methodology

The survey was created using the University of Liverpool’s SelectSurvey software, and respondents took part online. A paper survey was not produced, but a document listing the survey questions was published on the project website, along with the survey methodology and a participant information sheet (HistBEKE, 2017b, 2017c, 2017d). A link to the survey was emailed to potential respondents along with a brief overview of the HistBEKE project, a short paragraph explaining why they were being asked to take part, and a request to forward the survey to colleagues and organisations who work in the historic built environment sector. 

The survey was open to any individual or organisation working in relation to the built historic environment in England, including volunteers. This includes, but was not limited to, the following groups: 

  • Commercial contractors
  • Higher education institutions
  • Historic Environment Record (HER) teams
  • Independent Researchers 
  • Local Authority/National Park advisers on the built environment 
  • Local Authority/National Park built environment / conservation officers, including those who define themselves as archaeologists
  • National Amenity Societies 
  • National and local heritage / historic buildings societies or community groups 
  • National or other bodies that commission built historic environment investigations
  • Planning / heritage consultants 

A contacts list of individuals and organisations to send the survey to was developed using online sources of information such as national amenity society contacts lists, details of Historic Environment Officers recorded on the Heritage Gateway, as well as direct requests to be added to the project mailing list. This sample was therefore limited by the availability of data online, and the resources available. For example, it was not feasible to search for and record details of all heritage contractors or consultants across England. It has been necessary, therefore, to make use of lists such as the Institute for Historic Building Conservation (IHBC) HESPR business listings. While this results in some bias towards organisations on lists such as these, this was counterbalanced to some extent by asking respondents to forward the request onto organisations and local authorities that they work with; and through the use of social media and promotion of the survey via the project blog.