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The History of Surveys in the UK

published November 10, 2023
Smiling woman sitting at a desk with a laptop, paperwork on it and a pen in her hand

Whether it's deciding the best place for a farm, keeping tabs on how many of us there are, or settling the debate on the best way to make a cup of tea (milk in first), surveys are the go-to. 


For thousands of years, we've relied on people's opinions to make big decisions. Even today, companies like LifePoints team up with brands so you can take surveys and get rewarded for it (more on that later). 


Ever wonder where they started and how they've made a real impact, especially here in the UK?


When Surveys Were First Introduced


Like most good ideas, the ancient Egyptians got to it first. The earliest known survey was conducted by the Pharaoh and his administrators in 2300 BCE, who wanted to assess the state of agricultural land along the Nile after a flood. With this data they could work out the taxes people had to pay based on the land they farmed on. 


Then, during the Han Dynasty in China (206 BCE – 220 CE), the bureaucracy began surveying the population to determine the size of their population, and how much tax they could reasonably collect. Around the same time, the Romans counted heads as well. Lucky for us, they kept meticulous records, which historians used to gain insights into size of their empire. 


Why Surveys are Important in Research


  • Representation: A good survey is like a sneak peek into what everyone's thinking
  • Flexibility: You can take surveys anywhere and anyhow – face-to-face chats, online, you name it
  • Economical: Compared to fancy experiments, surveys are the wallet-friendly way to hear from loads of people


The History of Surveys in the UK


Across the UK and its colonies, surveys have played an important role, especially when it comes to land, people, and all kinds of research.




  • William the Conqueror creates the "Domesday Book"
  • It’s recognised as the first, real survey, checking who owns what land (and likely setting up taxes)


19th Century:


  • The UK starts the Census
  • Every 10 years, they're knocking on doors asking thing like how many people live in the property, what they do for a living and how they like to spend their spare time


20th Century:


  • The rise of market research!
  • Companies get curious: "Do people actually like our products?"
  • Surveys shift from face-to-face to phone calls


Modern Era:


  • Hello, digital age
  • Surveys go online, making it super easy to share thoughts anytime, anywhere
  • From shopping habits to political views, it’s all up for questioning

So, from ancient land checks to clicking online forms, the UK's been survey-savvy for centuries.


Surveys Today – Your Voice Matters


Across the internet and in your inbox there’s a ton of businesses who rely on your opinion to make decisions. However, choosing where and when to use your time can be tricky. That’s where LifePoints comes in.


Get Paid for Online Surveys in the UK


Big companies want to know what you think about their stuff before anyone else sees it. Join LifePoints, take fun, easy online surveys about new products or services, and score gift cards  from top brands like Amazon and PayPal, to high street favourites including Marks & Spencer and ASDA.


How Much Can I Earn Doing Online Surveys?


Taking paid surveys can give you some extra cash. But don't expect it to be like a full-time pay check. How much you earn from these surveys varies based on how often you do them and how many are up for grabs. Think of surveys as a cool side gig, not your main money-maker, and enjoy the perks it brings to those who participate.


Share Your Opinion, Get Rewarded with LifePoints


Surveys have evolved considerably from their ancient origins but remain pivotal in shaping our understanding of the world. From gathering data on agricultural lands in ancient Egypt to modern online questionnaires gauging public opinions on whether it’s the jam or cream that comes first on a scone, surveys have consistently offered a structured method to tap into collective knowledge. 


Their adaptability and efficiency make sure they will remain a crucial tool in research, business, and public policy for the foreseeable future.


Now it’s your turn to continue advancing the legacy of surveys, while getting paid for it! 


Sign up today or download the App to earn 10 complimentary points to get started