Scottish Household Survey 2020 - telephone survey: culture and heritage report

Reports on culture and heritage data from the Scottish Household Survey 2020: telephone survey.

This document is part of a collection

2. Introduction

2.1 Introduction to the Scottish Household Survey

Since 1999, the Scottish Household Survey (SHS) has ran as a face-to-face survey of a sample of people in private residences all over Scotland. It is interviewer-administered in people's homes, which is voluntary and provides evidence on the composition, characteristics, attitudes and behaviour of private households and individuals.

The Scottish Government's vision for culture, as set out in The Culture Strategy for Scotland[3] is for a country where culture is valued, protected and nurtured, and where its transformative potential is experienced by everyone. The SHS is a key source of data on people's engagement with and attitudes to culture and heritage in Scotland. The core (annual) and biennial question sets provide data on how often people visit different cultural places/events or take part in different cultural activities, and on satisfaction levels with local authority cultural services[4].

The SHS Key Findings publication[5] provides key data on cultural attendance and participation at Scotland-level in 2020. This report adds to that publication by providing additional detail on attendance and participation across various protected and socio-economic characteristics. These include disaggregations by gender, age, qualification level, Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD), household income, disability, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, marital status, economic status and two-fold urban rural classification.

2.2 Impact of Covid-19

Covid-19, and the restrictions put in place from March 2020 onwards to restrict the spread of the virus, have had a significant effect on opportunities for cultural attendance and participation. A range of cultural and heritage venues were operating under capacity restrictions, or were closed to the public, at various points after March 2020; social distancing requirements may also have impacted on individuals' ability to attend or participate in some cultural activities.

SHS Data Collection

Covid-19 has also had an impact on the data available on cultural attendance and participation. Owing to Covid-19 restrictions, face-to-face interviewing in people's homes was paused in March 2020. Sustained restrictions on face-to-face interviewing required researchers to change the mode of collection to remote data collection, either by telephone or by video.

The telephone/video link version of the SHS was piloted in October 2020 and rolled out in early 2021. Overall, 16 per cent of household respondents undertook the SHS interview by one-way video link, and 84 per cent by telephone.

Response rates for this revised approach were lower than usual. Around 3,000 households were interviewed for the 2020 SHS telephone/video survey, compared to around 10,500 for the 2019 SHS. When response rates are lower, there is greater potential for non-response bias within the results. Also, due to the smaller sample sizes, the 2020 data cannot be disaggregated in as many ways as usual. For example, it is not possible to provide data for individual local authorities.

The revised approach meant that there was a change in the profile of respondents, for example there was a higher share of owner occupied households than usual and a lower share of rented households. There are also potential mode effects (respondents answering differently over the telephone than they would have face-to-face) and seasonal effects (the telephone survey took place during October 2020 and January to March 2021, whereas SHS face-to-face surveys normally run throughout the year). To mitigate against these effects and lower sample sizes, a different weighting methodology was applied.

2.3 Interpreting the results

For the reasons set out above, it is not possible to determine whether differences between 2020 results and previous years represent genuine changes in views and experiences, or are due to changes in how the survey was carried out. Most estimates were consistent with previous findings, or show changes that were plausible and could be attributed to the impact of the pandemic. However, the analysis found evidence of changes to estimates of a number of key measures, which appear to be driven by the change in approach.

Therefore, the results are not comparable to previous years and no time series analysis is provided. It instead focuses on within-year differences between groups (e.g. age, gender, disability). The results provide a snapshot of people's views and experiences of culture and heritage during the pandemic across these various groups. Difficulty in making comparisons between the 2020 survey and previous years does not mean that the data from the 2020 SHS is poor quality. All surveys are subject to different types of error and bias that cannot be fully addressed through weighting.

Finally, all sub-group comparisons reported in this publication have been tested for statistical significance. Only differences that are statistically significant at the 95 per cent confidence level are described as differences in the text of this report, unless explicitly stated otherwise.

2.4 Measuring Attendance and Participation

In this report, "Cultural Attendance"refers to "the percentage of adults who have attended or visited a cultural event or place in the last 12 months". Respondents to the SHS are asked: "in the last 12 months have you been to any of these events or places?". They are given a list of 15 options to choose from, such as cinemas, museums, libraries, and live music events.

Similarly, "Cultural Participation" refers to "the percentage of adults who have participated in a cultural activity in the last 12 months". Respondents to the SHS are asked: "in the last 12 months have you done any of these activities?". They are given a list of 15 options to choose from such as reading for pleasure, dancing, and crafts. The full list of response options for the cultural attendance and participation questions are provided in Annex 1.

To attempt to capture the impact that Covid-19 restrictions had on access to cultural places and activities in 2020, some additional adjustments were made to the section of the questionnaire regarding frequency of cultural attendance and participation. This included asking how often they went to a cultural event/place or did a cultural activity nowadays, rather than in the last 12 months and adding a response option to indicate that they "Don't go nowadays due to COVID". For a more detailed overview of the changes to the questionnaire, see Annex 2.

2.5 Changes from last year's report

Previous standalone SHS reports for culture contained analysis of the core set of annual culture data on attendance, participation and satisfaction with local cultural services, but also of the additional set of biennial questions on the impact of culture and heritage, and on aspirations and barriers to cultural attendance and participation. The biennial questions were not asked in 2020 so are not covered in this report.

However, this edition of the report features additional disaggregations that were not explored in the previous report, including information on ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, marital status, economic status and two-fold urban rural classification. Given the lower response rates for the 2020 SHS telephone / video survey, for some of these disaggregations, certain sub-groups have been grouped together to allow for larger base samples that are sufficiently reliable for analysis. For example, for the purposes of analysis by sexual orientation, sub-groups 'Gay / lesbian' and 'Bisexual' have been grouped together, even though they have been recorded separately.

The report explores statistically significant differences between sub-groups of the various protected and socio-economic characteristics. However, it does not feature any year-on-year comparisons given the comparability issues discussed above.


Email: andrew.o'

Back to top