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Rapid Review: Measuring Social Cohesion

Abrams, Dominic and Davies, Ben and Horsham, Zoe (2023) Rapid Review: Measuring Social Cohesion. Project report. University of Kent and Belong Network 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.101469. (Unpublished) (doi:10.22024/UniKent/01.02.101469) (KAR id:101469)


This rapid review conducted for Dame Sara Khan's Independent Review of Social Cohesion and Resilience, collates and synthesises a wide collection of measures used to capture social cohesion within the UK. We review measures used across 23 different data sources, taken from the academic and grey literatures, and from several large-scale social surveys administered in the UK. We draw on the British Academy's prior reviews on Cohesive Societies to provide the conceptual framework. Across the different sources we identified 300 different measurement items and 23 different aspects of cohesion, which we organised into the six themes of trust, identity, local connections, prejudice and intergroup relations, politics and social order, and external indicators. We identified limitations in the existing measurement array. These include inconsistency of operationalisation, levels of locality, and comparability across time and place. We recommend greater attention to ensuring both intergroup and intragroup aspects are measured, that change over time is assessed more systematically, and that measures at different levels of geographical scale are coordinated using a layered approach to optimise both frequency and coverage.

Item Type: Reports and Papers (Project report)
DOI/Identification number: 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.101469
Projects: Supply of a rapid evidence review on measuring social cohesion (project ID 595930)
Uncontrolled keywords: social cohesion, measurement
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HA Statistics
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Psychology
Funders: Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities (
Depositing User: Dominic Abrams
Date Deposited: 30 May 2023 22:49 UTC
Last Modified: 01 Oct 2023 23:00 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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