The Potential of Existing Cross-Sectional and Longitudinal Surveys to Support the Commonwealth Games 2014 Legacy Evaluation

The review focusses on data sources not already in use in the evaluation (eg in the baseline report or on the Assessing Legacy website) that could shed insight into the extent to which Scotland’s games legacy ambitions are met over time, especially in the areas of sports participation; volunteering; cultural engagement and civic pride.


7.1 At the heart of the present study was a need to establish if additional data sources could be used as indicators for the four topic areas related to the evaluation of the legacy of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games: Sports Participation and Physical Activity, Volunteering, Cultural Engagement, and Civic Pride.

7.2 The first stage of this study was to identify possible data sources to inform the evaluation of the legacy of the 2014 Commonwealth Games. A number of surveys can help address the legacy evaluation research questions and two surveys, in particular, were judged to be potentially of high value. Firstly, Understanding Society. This is the best source of longitudinal data for the four topic areas in Scotland. Secondly, the Glasgow Household Survey. This survey has a large sample size in Glasgow and good coverage of civic pride issues in particular.

7.3 There were also a number of surveys that were judged to be of medium value. One of particular interest was the Life Opportunities Survey. While the survey has lower coverage of the issues than some of the others, it provides a unique opportunity to address the issue of sports participation among the disabled. We detail all the surveys we reviewed in Appendix B.

7.4 For all of the topic areas, the evaluation of the legacy of the Commonwealth Games first needs to measure the nature and scale of changes in people's behaviour and attitudes during the period of the Games, but also needs to understand what drives these changes.

7.5 Cross-sectional surveys, because they tend to have larger sample sizes and more detailed questions on each of the topic areas than the longitudinal surveys, will be of particular value in the overall measurement of changes in behaviour and attitudes. In contrast, longitudinal surveys, because they measure change over time at an individual level, are potentially more powerful in understanding what drives these changes.

7.6 The usefulness of the various sources of longitudinal data will not only be driven by sample size but also by topic coverage, and in particular, the inclusion of questions on awareness of, and types of participation in, the Commonwealth Games. Without such questions, the scope for analysing potential festival and demonstration effects of the Commonwealth Games will be significantly reduced.

7.7 In order to support the analysis of the legacy of the Commonwealth Games, the inclusion of such measures in suitable longitudinal data sources should be a priority for consideration. We recommend that appropriate measures are introduced into the key longitudinal data sources, particularly Understanding Society.

7.8 We summarise the findings for each of the topic areas below.

Sport and exercise

7.9 The best source for national-level longitudinal data on sports participation is Understanding Society - for both adults and young people. However, the measures included in the Scottish Health Survey, the best cross-sectional source of data on the issue, have greater coverage of the topic. Understanding Society does provide measures that are not found elsewhere, accessibility of sporting and leisure facilities, although only for those aged 16 and over. The legacy evaluation should therefore draw on both sources to address whether there has been a change in levels of sport and physical activity.

7.10 In terms of evaluating the legacy of the Commonwealth Games in relation to its impact on sports participation, the inclusion of questions in the 2014 sweep of Understanding Society on engagement with the Commonwealth Games would be extremely beneficial, allowing for an analysis of the potential festival and demonstration effects of the Games.


7.11 National-level longitudinal data on volunteering is available in Understanding Society. However, the measure used to elicit the data is weaker than the comparable SHS measure, which may explain the lower levels of volunteering recorded in the former survey. For this reason we suggest that the SHS currently provides better national, population-level data on the incidence of volunteering in Scotland. The data from Understanding Society could be considered alongside the SHS data to allow for an assessment of the longevity of volunteering; that is, whether those individuals who get involved in volunteering around the time of the Games remain so over subsequent years.

7.12 No longitudinal data is available on volunteering at the Glasgow- or East End-level but the Glasgow Household Survey and GoWell are good, robust sources of cross-sectional data. Greater alignment of the GHS and GoWell question with the SHS questions would enable comparisons of the national-, city- and local- level pictures.

7.13 Very little robust data is available on volunteering among young people so the Government might consider adding relevant questions to a schools omnibus survey.

7.14 None of the data sources on volunteering include questions that would allow for an assessment of the impact of the Commonwealth Games. The development of such questions should similarly be a priority moving forward.

Cultural Activities

7.15 The best source of national-level cross-sectional data on cultural engagement is the SHS. While Understanding Society is the best source of national-level longitudinal data, its coverage of cultural engagement is less comprehensive than the SHS. In particular, unlike the SHS, Understanding Society does not collect information on frequency of attendance separately for each activity. The Legacy Evaluation should therefore draw on both sources of data in addressing the cultural engagement research questions. The SHS is the best source of data on cultural engagement at Glasgow-level while GoWell will be a good source for the East End of Glasgow specifically.

7.16 In terms of evaluating the legacy of the Commonwealth Games in relation to its impact on cultural engagement, the priority for additional survey questions would be the inclusion of questions in the longitudinal studies in 2014 on engagement with the Commonwealth Games. Again, this would enable analysis of the potential festival and demonstration effects of the CG.

Civic Pride

7.17 Beyond measures contained in the British and Scottish Social Attitudes Surveys, there is very little longitudinal - or indeed cross-sectional - data on national or civic pride at the Scotland-level. The new question modules the Government plans to include on school and adult omnibus surveys will therefore be crucial sources of data for the legacy evaluation.

7.18 The GHS is a good source of data on civic-pride at the Glasgow-level and we recommend that at least some of the questions be added to GoWell to provide for an assessment of the picture at the East End level. To both surveys it will also be necessary to add questions that will allow for an assessment of the impact of the Games - for example, questions that ask about respondents' level of participation in the Games and/or factors underpinning civic pride.


Email: Niamh O'Connor

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