About our online research

26 October 2023

Ofcom carries out a regular programme of research and data collection to understand what people do online, what they experience, and how they feel about it.

Under our duties as the online safety regulator, we examine different types of harm from the perspective of users who encounter them. We also look at the systems and processes used to create a safer environment.

Our research gives us – and our stakeholders – the evidence we need to understand the online environment and how it’s changing.

Our research methods

We use many different methods to understand users’ online behaviour:

  • We use qualitative and quantitative tools like interviews and surveys to ask people about their behaviour and attitudes directly.
  • We use observation and behavioural insights to understand what's really happening in people's online lives.
  • We analyse many different types of data, including web analytics and passive monitoring.
  • We develop new research methods and conduct experiments to constantly improve the quality of evidence our teams can draw on.
  • We collect data from stakeholders to inform our understanding of the sector and support our supervision and monitoring functions.

What we publish

Our publications range from large-scale repositories of market data and trends, through to exploratory work investigating the less visible aspects of people's online lives and discussion of new, innovative ways to measure the online environment.

Where possible, we provide our research as open data so it's available for anyone to use or share.

Research pilots

From time to time, we publish methodological notes and lessons learned from our work.

Measuring children's exposure to harm online – research pilots

Effectiveness of serious games – behavioural insight trial pilot