Scottish Household Survey 2020 - telephone survey: key findings

A summary of the key findings from the Scottish Household Survey 2020 telephone survey.

Introduction - Survey background and design

The Scottish Household Survey (SHS) is an annual survey carried out since 1999. It collects data on a wide range of topics not available from any other sources, and is at the heart of the Scottish Government’s evidence-based approach to policy. It uses face-to-face in-home interviewing. In March 2020, fieldwork was suspended in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Only a small proportion of the 2020 survey had been completed. The approach was adapted, and the remainder of the 2020 survey fieldwork was carried out using telephone interviewing.

This report presents key findings from the SHS 2020 telephone survey. Results on Transport and Travel in Scotland and the Scottish Surveys Core Questions are reported separately.

The results of the SHS 2020 telephone survey are not directly comparable to SHS results for previous years. Everything else being equal, we would expect some genuine changes in people’s views and experiences, due to the pandemic. However, it is not possible to determine whether differences between the 2020 results and previous years represent genuine changes in views and experiences, or are due to changes in how the survey was carried out. Response rates for the telephone survey were lower than usual, and there was a change in the profile of respondents (e.g. home owners and people with degree level qualifications were over-represented). There are also potential mode effects (respondents answering differently over the telephone than they would 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). The SHS 2020 methodology report provides more detail on the change in approach, and how it may have impacted the results.

Around 3,000 households were interviewed for the SHS 2020 telephone survey, compared to around 10,500 for the SHS 2019. Due to the smaller sample size, we are not be able to provide 2020 data broken down in as many ways as usual. For example, we are not able to provide data for individual local authorities.

Excel tables have been published in the supporting files to this publication, and the relevant table numbers are referred to throughout this publication. The Excel tables include specific results for various sub-groups in the population (e.g. men and women, different age groups etc.). Because of sampling variation, some differences may occur by chance. We therefore use standard statistical tests to examine whether differences are likely to be due to chance. Only differences that are statistically significant at the 95% confidence level are described as differences in the text of this report, unless explicitly stated otherwise.



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