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Scottish Environmental Attitudes and Behaviours Survey 2008 - Technical Report



7.1 This report outlines the technical approach employed for SEABS'08. The over-arching aim of SEABS was to produce dedicated, sound and up-to-date robust social survey data on environmental attitudes and behaviours. The research methods employed ensured the robustness of the results in terms of reliability, validity and relevance.

7.2 The starting point in terms of identifying content for the SEABS 2008 survey questionnaire was DEFRA's (2007) ' Survey of Attitudes, Knowledge and Behaviour in relation to the Environment'23 and a related DEFRA-commissioned omnibus survey module. One of the key aims of the SEABS'08 questionnaire development was to ensure that it was sensitive to the Scottish context. Ipsos MORI Scotland, working in collaboration with the SG Project Management Team and the Greener Scotland and Climate Change Divisions, produced a draft SEABS questionnaire. The draft was presented to the SEABS Scottish Government Advisory Group, and the Scottish Environment Social Evidence Group 24 ( SESEG) for discussion. It was subsequently refined and a revised version was agreed.

7.3 Specific topics covered in the questionnaire were as follows:

  • the salience of the environment and of specific environmental issues;
  • awareness of, and attitudes towards, climate change;
  • travel behaviour;
  • energy consumption;
  • reusing and recycling;
  • eco-purchasing;
  • wellbeing; and
  • use and perceived importance of greenspace.

7.4 Cognitive testing of the questionnaire was undertaken among 20 members of the public to ensure that all questions and response options were understood in the way intended. The revised questionnaire was then piloted with 103 respondents to provide a final check of the clarity of questions and to ensure that the CAPI script had been correctly programmed.

7.5 The main survey fieldwork 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. Prior to fieldwork commencing, all interviewers were briefed in person about the survey.

7.6 The sample was drawn from the small user file from the Postcode Address File. Datazones were employed as the primary sampling units because of their links with the urban/rural classification. To minimise the clustering effect on the achieved sample, a relatively large number of primary sampling units were selected with a relatively small target number of interviews set in each.

7.7 Interviewer quotas were based on three demographic variables, and one key behavioural variable: sex, age, working status, and car ownership. The data was weighted to ensure that the achieved sample on the quota variables was in line with the population.

7.8 The data analysis in the study was driven by two main aims. First, to describe the prevalence of various attitudes and behaviours in relation to the environment across Scotland and within particular sub-groups. Secondly, to analyse what drives environmental attitudes and behaviours. This was undertaken primarily by creating a typology of environmental engagement and analysing whether this typology was significant in determining different behaviours.

7.9 In addition to the technical approach to the survey presented in this report, full survey results are available at: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Resource/Doc/263223/0078735.pdf