Consultation on the design of the Scottish Household Survey (SHS) for 2017 and beyond

The Scottish Government requires to make savings on the Scottish Household Survey (SHS)2017. Savings of the level sought cannot be achieved without significant changes to the design of the SHS. The Scottish Government is consulting on a number of options to achieve the required level of savings for SHS 2017. Respondents' views will also be used to inform the design of SHS 2018-2021.

Alternative options considered

It should be noted that the Scottish Government considered a number of alternative options for achieving savings in 2017, and these were put to the SHS Steering Group for consideration[5]. These included reducing topic coverage by over 40% in order to achieve around a twenty minute reduction in interview time. However, this would lead to a significant reduction in data and evidence needs for informing, monitoring and evaluating policy decisions. This option was therefore rejected.

The Scottish Government also considered changes to the mode of data collection for the 2017 survey. However, each alternative such as full or partial telephone or online completion has its own set of drawbacks, as well as the introduction of possible mode effects into SHS data, which could impact on the quality of the survey. Furthermore, the sample for the SSCQ is based on the Scottish Government's three large scale random probability population surveys, all of which are carried out on a face-to-face basis.

Altering the survey so that the whole survey runs on a biennial basis was also rejected. This is because experience with the Scottish Crime and Justice Survey showed that such a model was not sustainable from a fieldwork perspective in terms of having to 'ramp up' and then 'ramp down' the field-force of interviewers from one year to the next.


Email: Pat Cairns

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