Scottish household survey: Frequently Asked Questions

This section contains a number of frequently asked questions about the Scottish Household Survey.

Survey Content

The principal purpose of the survey is to provide reliable and up-to-date information on the composition, characteristics, behaviour and attitudes of Scottish households and adults across a number of topic areas including local government, neighbourhoods and transport.  A wide range of other topics is covered in the survey questionnaire in addition to these main policy areas.

Key questions, providing standard information about the composition and key characteristics of households, remain largely unchanged over time. However, the continuous nature of the survey and its modular design permits some flexibility, and the questionnaire has evolved over time. The survey also provides a base from which to commission more detailed follow-up surveys of sub-samples of the households in the survey.

From January 2012 a set of 20 core questions has been asked in all Scottish Government cross-sectional surveys. In addition, where two or more surveys ask questions on the same topic, wording has been harmonised.  Further information on the Scottish Government survey strategy (including the core and harmonised questions) is available on the Population Surveys in Scotland web page.

Current Questionnaire and Content Management

In the bid to keep up with policy intiatives and to assist in the collection of a robust evidence base, the questionnaire is refreshed every year. The SHS team consults with internal and external users of SHS data and questions can be amended, dropped or new ones added.

Minor amendments are made to the questionnaire throughout the year, although we aim to keep these to a minimum.

Some useful documents are:

If you would like to discuss the questionnaire content, please contact the SHS Project Team.

Questionnaire Origins

Over the Summer 1998 period, a Consultation exercise was undertaken. Interested parties from within academia, the voluntary sector, local government and other bodies, as well as from a wide range of policy areas within the (then) Scottish Executive, were asked to submit proposals for topics and questions to be included in the survey. The scale of response to the consultation exercise resulted in the number of proposals greatly exceeding the space available in the questionnaire, which is limited to an average of 45 minutes interviewing per household. An assessment of each proposal was made by the survey's Network Group and used by the Technical Group in its discussions of the topics for inclusion in the survey. An important criterion used by the Technical Group for selecting topics was the relevance of each proposal to the survey's main policy areas.



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