Scottish Schools Adolescent Lifestyle and Substance Use Survey (SALSUS) 2015: Online Pilot

The Scottish Schools Adolescent Lifestyle and Substance Use Survey (SALSUS) has always been administered on paper. This report summarises an online pilot ahead of the potential move to conduct some of the SALSUS 2015 fieldwork online rather than on paper.

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4 Conclusions and Recommendations


4.1 Overall, pilot schools found that administering the survey online was relatively straightforward and both liaison and class teachers were positive about the process. Pupils were generally positive about their experience of completing the survey online and the dominant view was that an online survey was ‘easier’, ‘more fun’, ‘less dull’ and ‘more modern’ than a paper survey.

4.2 There was only one major problem encountered: in two of the twelve schools the LA firewall blocked the names of specific drugs so the survey was stopped at the drugs section. Now that this issue has been identified, we can liaise with LA IT officers to address this in advance of the main fieldwork.

4.3 The pilot was also useful in identifying several aspects of the survey method that can be ‘fine-tuned’ to improve the process. These changes will help to make administering the survey online run as smoothly as possible, and reduce burden, for the schools involved in SALSUS 2015.

4.4 Topline analysis of the data suggests that there are no major problems with data quality. However, it must be borne in mind that the pilot was not intended to identify or measure any difference in response between the paper and online modes. This will be the purpose of the mode experiment.


4.5 On the basis that there were no unresolvable problems identified, our recommendation is to proceed past Break Point Two and undertake the mode experiment (i.e. undertake half the main fieldwork online and half on paper).


Email: Emma McCallum

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