Data for the Morris Census is collected through an online survey, sent out to morris sides in the UK and in the rest of the world. A survey is sent to all sides, rather than a sample, because the number of sides is not very large (less than 1,000).

The survey and its questions are designed according to a number of criteria: 
  • Ensure the questions can easily be answered by a knowledgeable member of the side, e.g. the secretary. This means the contact person receiving the email with a link to the survey does not have to consult the team, reducing the burden on them and the side, and increasing the likelihood they respond.
  • Give clear definitions to make the meaning unambiguous, to make the data that is returned comparable. 
  • Design questions that make sense to all the many different types of side. For example, the term 'dancer' may confuse someone from a Mummers side, so use 'performer' instead where appropriate. 
  • Avoid unnecessary detail and keep the survey short, to reduce burden and increase likelihood of response. 

2014 Morris Census
The survey that was used in 2014 can be viewed here.

In the UK, Australia and New Zealand the 2014 survey was sent out by the morris organisations by email directly to designated contacts. No such organisation exists in North America, so the survey was distributed by direct email. A database of known email addresses for teams in the United States and Canada was gathered from online sources and sides were encouraged to pass on the survey link to sides they knew. 

Further publicity to raise the awareness of the Morris Census data collection was carried out using Twitter (@morriscensus), Facebook (‘How many morris dancers are there on Facebook?’ group), a website ( and articles in the newsletters of the Morris Federation and Morris Ring.

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