Published: May 2007
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The UK is a multicultural society consisting of mainly Anglo-Saxon-European descendants with major Welsh, Scottish, Afro-Caribbean, Asian, and other European groups. There has been considerable mixing of cultures in many areas but also many ethnic groups wish to maintain their cultural heritage. This results in amajority who tend to be somewhat reticent in their attitudes overlaid by a still-strong element of class-consciousness. On the other hand, some of the ethnic groups can be very demonstrative and keen to participate in society. It is noticeable that even the traditionally reserved “Englishman” is now more likely to speak his, or her, mind.
The pressure of society and the articulation of the Protestant work ethic since the 1980s have brought about much of this change and people will declare that they have less time, or are less willing to give time, to answer questionnaires. In practice, people are usually quite cooperative and if they cannot spare the time, will very politely explain this to the researcher.
In certain areas, people will definitely not participate, seeing any inquiry into their personal life as an intrusion or even as a threat. This seems to occur mainly in areas where people have become alienated from mainstream society. Thus, any research should approach such areas with a high level of tact and be aware of such problematic cultural issues. A similar approach is needed where the culture of a particular ethnic group may restrict contacts with strangers. Such ethnic groups often have very strong religious beliefs and practices that must be respected.
There is also an increasing population aged over 50, those people born in the decades immediately following World War II. This generation was the flower children of the 1960s and it might be expected that as they come to retirement they will make their presence felt once again. They currently have significant consumer power.
Reference to professional organizations that provide specific services has been used in several places. This ASTM document does not endorse these companies.
Marshall, Richard J.
London Metropolitan University, London,