Time use in Scotland 2020: ONS Online Time Use Survey - gender analysis

Looks at how time was used in Scotland in 2020 with a focus on gendered differences between women and men.

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4. Methodology

The 2020 Online Time Use Survey was commissioned by ONS and gathered by NatCen Social Research. This was a UK wide survey, within which the Scottish Government commissioned a Scottish booster sample to enable breakdowns of sub groups within Scotland. The 2020 OTUS was developed to be as comparable to the Harmonised European Time Use Survey (HETUS) guidelines as possible, helping to ensure its compatibility across time.[3]

Data collection

Fieldwork for the 2020 OTUS was carried out in two waves. Wave one ran from 28th March to 26th April 2020, and wave two commenced on 5th September and ended on 11th October 2020. The first wave took place during the COVID-19 lockdown and the second wave took place during the subsequent restrictions. The survey used a multi-stage stratified probability (random) sample. The Scottish component of the 2020 OTUS drew on the ScotCen Panel (NatCen in the rest of the UK) for responses. This panel is made up of 4,000 people aged 16 and over living in England, Scotland and Wales who were invited to take part after completing the British or Scottish Social Attitudes surveys.

The total Scottish sample size for the 2020 OTUS was 556 people, and 917 diary days. Broken down by gender, 317 participants were women (a total of 520 diary days) and 239 were men (397 diary days). Data were weighted to be representative of the population, taking into account age, ethnicity, gender, employment and tenure. Weighting also factored in differences between workdays and weekends.

Within a participating household, each respondent was asked to complete the same diary days, including one weekday and one weekend day. Respondents filled in what they were doing at ten minute intervals during the day, using pre-coded options provided to them via an activities list. Diary entries were then recorded by the participants online where possible, or were contacted over the phone by interviewers who recorded diary information on participants' behalf. Research by Reg Gatenby[4] found that pre-coded diaries were comparable to self-completion diaries, with minor issues only arising at the detailed code level, due to differences in interpretation of the codes.

The activities reported here combine a number of different codes from the original time use survey under single headings. For example, the activity 'housework/cooking' combines a large number of codes concerned with domestic work, i.e. 'making food and drinks, cooking or washing up', 'cleaning, hoovering, tidying house', 'washing up' and 'ironing, washing or mending clothes'. For a full list of the codes used for each activity, please see the data tables accompanying this report.

This report and interpreting the results

When interpreting the results of the 2020 OTUS it is important to keep in mind that the fieldwork took place during the UK's national lockdown and thereafter during periods of restrictions as a result of COVID-19. These restrictions are likely to have had an impact on how time was used in Scotland. Any future comparisons with the 2020 OTUS should situate findings in this context, always keeping in mind that differences might be due to the COVID-19 lockdown and restrictions, and not necessarily down to larger societal trends.

The findings presented here relate to the average number of minutes per day spent on an activity. This is worked out as (the average time per day for all people divided by the proportion of people who participated in the activity) multiplied by 100. The amount of time spent per day on an activity might be lower than expected when compared to a hypothetical person's activity. For example in Scotland in 2020 the average amount of time spent on paid work was 152 minutes, or 2 hours 32 minutes. However, this must be understood as the amount of time spent across the whole Scottish sample, not just the proportion of the Scottish sample participating in paid work on a given day.

The sum of all the averaged activities when broken down by gender add up to 24 hours (or 1,440 minutes). However, when looking at developmental and non-developmental childcare amongst the proportion of the sample with children there were some cases were a respondent was doing both forms of childcare at the same time (e.g. helping with homework whilst making lunch for their child). In these cases the activity was double counted in both the developmental and non-developmental categories, and has resulted in these categories totalling to just over 24 hours.

The number of diary days where an activity takes place is provided as a percentage. This percentage is included for an activity where it appears useful and to add further clarification. Full data for the diary day percentages for each category can be found in the data tables accompanying this report.

Establishing significance

Statistical significance testing is used to determine how certain we are that differences seen in the survey are due to real-world gender differences. Significance testing was done at the 95% level, which means that there is a less than 1 in 20 chance that if there was no actual gender difference, that we would see a difference in the analysis through random chance. Where our results show a difference that is not statistically significant, there may still be a real-world difference, but it was not possible to tell using the existing data.

The statistical test used was a Mann-Whitney U test. This tests for whether a women typically does a given activity for more/less time than a typical man. The Mann-Whitney test was used due to average times being influenced by both the time spent on an activity and the proportion of women and men doing the activity. Due to this, the data are not parametrically distributed and hence a non-parametric test such as the Mann-Whitney U test was needed.



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