UCL News


Participants needed for research study: Do you use Freedom of Information requests?

9 February 2012

The UCL Constitution Unit based in the School of Public Policy has been awarded a research grant from the Leverhulme Trust to assess the use of the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act 2000 by academics and researchers at Higher Education institutions.


We are seeking to understand how FOI is contributing to academics' work, identify any common problems academics face when requesting, and formulate some useful guidelines for academics who hope to get the most out of FOI.

Back in 2005, hopes were high for the potential benefits of the new Freedom of Information Act, which provided a right to information held by UK public bodies. It wasn't just for ordinary citizens - those who championed the passing of the legislation noted the 'considerable benefits for those engaged in academic research'. While there are notable examples of scholarship enhanced by FOI over the years, with FOI remaining requester-blind, we have little wider understanding of how academics are benefitting from this new research method.

If you are an academic or student (undergraduate and above) and have used FOI requests as a research method, the UCL Constitution Unit would like to invite you to share your experiences to help other academics make the best use of FOI possible. You can fill out our short online survey, by visiting https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/academics-who-use-foi

Please email Gabrielle Bourke for more details about the project, or visit http://www.ucl.ac.uk/constitution-unit/research/foi

Gabrielle Bourke, Research Assistant, Constitution Unit, Department of Political Science