It is often a challenge in consulting assignments to get past commonly held assumptions and actually test these against real world data. Ian Hendry, my former boss at Sovereign said to me "I hate paying for research it usually only tells me what I knew already" - and I heartily agree. Ian was actually a regular user of research but was simply bemoaning the cost.
That is why I like debates about figures, especially when large discrepancies are discovered.
Like the extra 1.5 million people that a research firm says live in the UK in - how to put it kindly - "constrast" to official figures. Apparently the scandal is not new and the 2001 census in the UK was particularly bad - illustrated by this quote:
"As Westminster Council famously said at the time in relation to the Census’s claimed sharp drop in the Westminster population, if they are paying Council tax, it means that they probably exist."
The full article is here - it may require registration but that is free.