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Scottish Environmental Attitudes and Behaviours Survey 2008 - Technical Report

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1 INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND

1.1 The Scottish Government Rural and Environment Analytical Services ( REAS) Division on behalf of the Greener Scotland Directorate and Climate Change Division commissioned Ipsos MORI to undertake the Scottish Environmental Attitudes and Behaviours Survey 2008 ( SEABS'08).

1.2 The over-arching aim of SEABS'08 was to produce dedicated, sound and up-to-date robust social survey data on environmental attitudes and behaviours, supporting the development and delivery of environmental policy, relating specifically to climate change, sustainable development and wellbeing, but also of relevance to other policy areas. Specific objectives for the survey were to:

  • provide robust information on individual environmental attitudes and individual and household behaviours of adults (aged 16+ across Scotland);
  • enable disaggregation of such information in terms of sub-groups;
  • enable detection of trends over time;
  • allow more detailed surveys or follow-up surveys, if required, of sub-samples from the main survey sample; and
  • devise appropriate dissemination, presentation and use of results.

1.3 The Scottish Government, prior to the commissioning of SEABS'08, undertook a scoping study of available evidence, that identified the need for dedicated up-to-date robust Scottish evidence on both environmental attitudes and behaviours. It is, however, worth noting two prior surveys in particular, that informed to a greater or lesser extent, SEABS'08. Namely, DEFRA's Survey of Attitudes, Knowledge and Behaviour in relation to the Environment 2007 1, and Public Attitudes to the Environment in Scotland 20022 undertaken for the Scottish Executive.

1.4 This report outlines the technical approach followed for SEABS'08. The survey was undertaken among a quota sample of the Scottish adult population between 18 August and 15 November 2008, and involved interviews with 3,054 people aged 16 years and over. A full results report and summary research findings paper are also available at: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Resource/Doc/263223/0078735.pdf.

1.5 SEABS'08 was undertaken using quota sampling rather like the Defra 2007 study. This approach differs from several national surveys undertaken for the Scottish Government where random pre-selected sampling is used. Analysis of the quality and precision of the information obtained from the survey was commissioned by the Scottish Government and undertaken by Gillian Raab. It is included as an annex to this technical report, and presents further analysis on the use of the quota sample and its consequences for bias and precision.