In November last year, we published ‘The Secret Learning Life of UK Managers’.

The report was based on a wide-ranging survey we commissioned from ComRes. For us, there were two important reasons for selecting ComRes:

1) We got their expert help and support in survey construction

2) They could reach a more representative sample of the target group we wanted to survey

One thing we were keen on when we commissioned the survey was that it should be conducted over the phone.

This was to ensure that the sample wasn’t skewed towards people who were comfortable with online media, and were therefore more likely to use digital resources to help with workplace challenges.

ComRes recently alerted us to the fact that, due to a problem with their internal procedures, the data we received from them was based on an online survey, not a telephone survey. As soon as they became aware of the problem, they got in touch to let us know. First and foremost, this is to let you know that we, through no awareness on our part, published inaccurate information about the methodology used in ‘The Secret Learning Life of UK Managers’ report. I apologise for that, and we’ve updated the report to reflect the actual methodology used.

We asked ComRes to comment for this post:

“We don’t make many mistakes but this one was particularly frustrating because it really should have been picked up via our internal procedures, so we are conducting a thorough review to ensure that it can’t happen again. Despite the error, we want to reassure you that the quality of the data and the demographic profile of respondents remain exactly in line with where we would want this to be – the discrepancy is purely in terms of mode.

“While there may sometimes be a modal difference between online and telephone, we do not expect this to be very great for this study. Part of the reason for our confidence is that both are an excellent means of reaching time-poor senior decision-makers and, as mentioned, we conduct many of our highest-profile business surveys online for clients including the Confederation of British Industry, London Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Recruitment and Employment Confederation.”

Tom Clarkson, ComRes

We’re confident that the findings of the report and our analysis still stand, despite the methodological difference.

The overall conclusions hold, though I’d recommend that readers bear in mind there may be a slight bias towards online activities. That said, online activities didn’t fare particularly well compared with face-to-face activities, and the most interesting differences were in managers’ perceptions of internal and external resources.

Finally, I’d like to commend ComRes for contacting us as soon as they realised there had been an error. It would have been easy to let this  slide, and their forthright, honest approach has actually given me, and the whole team here at GoodPractice, more confidence in them as a research partner.

I’m always happy to discuss the details of our research.

If you want to speak to me about this, you can contact the GoodPractice team at or contact me direct via Twitter @owenferguson.