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Page last updated at 07:08 GMT, Thursday, 19 April 2012 08:08 UK

Mass Observation, 75 years on

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Seventy-five years ago, long before the age of market research and focus groups, three researchers began a project to study the everyday lives of ordinary people in Britain.

They called their organisation Mass Observation, and used a team of observers and a panel of volunteer writers to record people's views and behaviour.

The project continued into the 1950s, during which time a series of books and many reports were published - it was revived in the 1980s.

To mark the 75th anniversary, the Today programme will be running a series of reports on the archive of the project's findings which is held by the University of Sussex.

In the first report, correspondent Allan Little, looks back to 1937 and the first days of Mass Observation.


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