We are testing a new beta website for gov.scot go to new site

Scottish Household Survey - Frequently Asked Questions

Scottish Household Survey logo

Frequently Asked Questions

This section contains a number of frequently asked questions about the Scottish Household Survey. FAQs are available for the following topics:

Background to Survey | Accessing Data | Questionnaire

Background to Survey

Background to the Survey


What is this survey about?

The SHS is designed to help the Scottish Government and other bodies to plan services and policies for Scotland. To do this we need accurate, up-to-date information about the characteristics, attitudes and behaviour of people living in Scotland. The survey covers lots of topics, including what kind of housing you live in and who lives with you, what you do for a living, how you travel, your health, levels of education, how you feel about the area in which you live and the local services available to you. Click here for a full list of topics covered in the questionnaire.


Who is doing the survey?

Ipsos MORI Scotland have been contracted to do the survey, on behalf of the Scottish Government.


Participation in the Survey


Do I have to take part?

No. If you receive a selection letter but don't want to take part, please telephone 0808 238 5376 (freephone) and your name will be taken off the interview list. However, we are keen that as many people as possible take part so that the interviews are representative of everyone in Scotland, not just certain groups of people.


How long does the interview take?

Interview length varies depending on your answers, and whether you take part in the household or random adult part of the questionnaire or both.  The householder survey take 15-20 minutes, the random adult survey takes around 40 minutes. 


Will the questions be very personal?

Most people don't find the questions too personal, but if you do feel uncomfortable with the questions being asked, you don't have to give an answer.


What happens to the information I give?

It will be combined with the information from all the other interviews carried out, to create statistics about the features of Scottish households. These will be used in lots of ways by local councils, the Scottish Government and other agencies (e.g. charities, in academic research etc). It will be anonymous (i.e. no-one will be able to identify you from your answers) and will remain confidential.


Why is it that only I have received a letter in my neighbourhood?

We want to get a picture of people living all over Scotland, so we have to interview people in a wide variety of locations to try and make the survey representative. This means that only a small number of people will be interviewed in each area.


What time do the interviewers usually visit?

There is no set time. If you are not in the interviewer will call back again at a different time. If it is not convenient when the interviewer calls they can make an appointment with you to call back at another time. If you wish to make an appointment when you receive the letter, telephone the researchers on 0808 238 5376 (freephone) and someone will call to arrange a time that suits you.


Can I be interviewed outside working hours?

Yes, interviewers can call in the evenings and at weekends.


Do the interviewers carry identification?

Yes. Make sure they show you their identification card, and if in doubt do not let them in. You can also call 0808 238 5376 (freephone) to check the identity of interviewers.