Fair Start Scotland employability service - year 4: online survey results

Findings from a series of three short online surveys with participants of Fair Start Scotland (FSS) employability service. Surveys focused on experiences of in-work support, of re-joining FSS and on support for parents. The report covers year 4 (April 2021 to March 2022) of FSS.

Appendix 1: Methodology


Online surveys participants were recruited from a population of all those FSS participants who joined in Year 4 (April 2021 – March 2022) of service delivery and who met the inclusion criteria for each of the three surveys (i.e. those who started on a job while taking part in FSS for Survey 1, those who re-joined the service in Year 4 after previously taking part in the service for Survey 2, those who were parents for Survey 3).

To this end, a series of three lists based on management information data of all those who joined the service in Year 4 and who met the inclusion for each of the surveys was created. We then removed individuals for whom an email address was not available from each of the three lists.

Each individual from the resulting three lists was emailed an invitation to take part in the online survey for which they were eligible to take part. The invitation email contained brief information about the aims of the study, an explanation why the person is being invited to take part and the link to the online survey.

Questionnaires development and data collection

Each of the three questionnaires were developed by a team of two Scottish Government researchers through an iterative process of developing and revising survey questions to best meet the aims of each survey. The surveys were composed of both closed-ended and open-ended questions.

For each survey, the opening page contained additional further information on the aim of the survey and what taking part entails. A link to an information sheet was also provided. Each survey contained 4-9 questions and took between 5-10 minutes to complete on average.

An online platform (Questback) was used to develop the three surveys, email invitations to take part and to collect data. The anonymity of survey participants was protected throughout the study. This meant that researchers did not have access to the data that would allow them to identify the names of the people who provided specific answers to survey questions.

Each survey remained opened for three weeks, starting from the day the invitations to take part were send out to potential participants. Participants received up to two reminders to complete the survey over the three week period.

Data collection took part in July – September 2022.


Data from the three online surveys was analysed by a team of two Scottish Government researchers. Thematic analysis was used to analyse free text responses to open-ended questions. For each open-ended question, analysts identified key themes across survey participants responses. For the closed-questions we identified how many survey participants chose each of the response options and presented this information in the report.


Email: EmployabilityResearch@gov.scot

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