Time use survey 2014-2015: results for Scotland

Analysis of the Scottish results of the 2014-2015 time use survey by Centre for Time Use, Oxford University.

2. Time Use Participation And How To Use This Report

This report describes the way that time is spent in Scotland and the way that time use differs between groups within the population. It analyses variations in time use for 15 activities and how they relate to differences in gender[4], age, disability and income.

Participants in the time use survey recorded their activities at ten minute intervals in time use diaries provided by the researchers. They were asked to provide completed diaries on two randomly allocated days which included, by design, one weekday and one weekend day. In the full survey, which covered the whole of the UK, 11,860 households were sampled, resulting in 4,239 household interviews, and 9,388 participants who undertook interviews with the researcher and/or provided completed diaries. This resulted in a total of 16,550 time use diary days.

This report primarily analyses the results found for the 799 Scottish participants in the survey. In addition, it compares these results with results from rest of the UK, as captured in the same survey, and the 2000-01 Time Use Survey. Both the 2000-01 and 2014-15 surveys employed the Harmonised European Time Use Survey (HETUS) guidelines, making their results compatible for the purposes of analysis.

This report refers to average time use as measured by these surveys. Average time use refers to the average numbers of minutes spent by a survey participant on a given activity. This combines the average time use reported by all those who participated in the activity alongside those who did not. For example, the data indicates that, in Scotland, men in the 25-44 age group spent an average of 40minutes on childcare per day. This refers to total number of minutes spent by all men in this age group, divided by the number of participants. It therefore incorporates both those who did no childcare on diary days, which may be a result of having no children, along with all those who undertook the activity for various lengths of time. For this reason, the average time use can be understood as useful for both descriptive and comparative purposes, particularly with regard to the average time use of other groups. However, again using the example of childcare, the average time use may not provide an accurate account of how long an average parent within a given demographic spends on childcare.

In some cases, time use averages should be considered alongside daily participation rates. The daily participation rate refers to the percentage of people within a group who, on a randomly chosen day of the week, participated in a given activity. For example, the daily participation rate in childcare for men aged 25-44 is 30%. This indicates that, on a randomly selected day, 30% of the individuals within this group would be expected to be taking part in this activity. To clarify, this doesn’t mean that only 30% of this group ever took part in childcare. Rather, it means that the survey results predict that, if a day was selected at random, 30% of the individuals in this group would be participating in this activity on that day.

Certain daily participation rates for activities can be found in the tables accompanying each section. For a full list of the daily participation rates for all groups in relation to all activities, please see the data tables accompanying this report. Daily participation rates are also directly referenced when they help to contextualise of low average time use. Conversely, for activities where daily average participation is or is close to 100%, such as ‘unpaid work’, the average time use is much more readily interpretable as referring to how individuals typically spend their time. In some contexts, the time spent on activity only amongst those participating in an activity is provided for further clarification.

Participants in the time use survey recorded their time use in their own words, which were then coded by the researchers analysing the data. The activities reported here combine a number of different codes from the original time use survey under single headings. For example, the variable ‘housework’ combines a large number of codes concerned with domestic work, i.e. ‘food preparation and baking’, ‘disposal of waste’, ‘ironing’ and ‘cleaning dwelling’, amongst others. For a full list of the codes used for each activity, please see the data tables accompanying this report.

‘Significant’ differences refer to differences between two groups which are statistically significant. Comparing time use in this way provides a powerful descriptive tool for analysing how time use differs between groups within the population. While this report does not offer an analysis of why these differences in time use emerge, it provides a framework for informing future analysis and indicate directions for further research. More information about the methods used to establish statistical significance and the size of the relative sample groups is available in Chapter 5. The full dataset for the 2014-15 UK Time Use survey is available here.


Email: Claire McHarrie

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