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The Quarterly Survey of Small Business in Britain

Are you interested in the performance of Britain's population of small and medium-sized firms, and the experiences of business owners and managers? Would you like to find out more about a particular topic, examine regional differences, or track changes in business attitudes and performance over an extended period? The Quarterly Survey of Small Business in Britain provides an authoritative and independent insight into these issues for the benefit of researchers, policy-makers and practitioners.

Latest report

Download the 2014 Q4 report - our special 30th ANNIVERSARY ISSUE: celebrating three decades of small firms’ research and engagement.

This special issue marks a particular milestone: it is now three decades since the Quarterly Survey of Small Business in Britain began the task of monitoring emerging trends and examining the experiences and opinions of business owners and managers. In this report, we have assembled contributions from a variety of sources with the following aims: to shed some new light on this important period in the history of small firms’ research in the UK; to explore the main changes and continuities in the small firms landscape over this extended period; and lastly, to draw some lessons for future work in this important research field.

Free access to the Quarterly Survey

You can now get a free PDF download of the latest survey report in our extensive archive of previous reports dating back to 1990.

Research and sponsorship opportunities

The Open University Business School has an active group of researchers working on issues related to enterprise and innovation. Please contact Dr Richard Blundel to discuss potential options, including corporate sponsorship, and commissioned reports.


The Quarterly Survey has been monitoring small business attitudes and performance since 1984 when it was created by Graham Bannock, research director of the pioneering Bolton Report on small firms. Survey findings have been used by policy-makers, businesses and researchers, as well as providing news stories in both general and specialist media. Each quarterly report represents the views and experiences of more than 1,000 owners and managers. The data is gathered from a national structured sample, conducted by telephone, and through a parallel online survey in order to reflect the complexity and richness of business life in Britain today. The survey findings are complemented by a set of in-depth case studies, based on interviews with respondents. The Quarterly Survey report is edited by Dr Richard Blundel and draws on the experience of other Open University academics. The survey attracts external funding and offers opportunities to sponsor special topic questions or to commission additional studies. The Quarterly Survey is editorially independent and any opinions expressed in its reports are not necessarily those of The Open University or of any other organisations.