Surveys and Social Research

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Surveys and Social Research

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1. Surveys and Social Research Young Persons’ Attitudes Survey 2008

2. Why surveys? ‘Information capitalism’ Vast amounts of information collected on all of us for range of purposes Daily ‘polls’ on issues ranging from the serious to the ridiculous When can data be trusted? Information is valuable – examples of missing data. Not just bank details. Politicians, Market Researchers, Social ResearchInformation is valuable – examples of missing data. Not just bank details. Politicians, Market Researchers, Social Research

3. Two examples of serious surveys. Nonetheless each conducted by an ‘interested’ party Two examples of serious surveys. Nonetheless each conducted by an ‘interested’ party

4. Growth of web based surveys and the idea of ‘having your say’. Not all entirely serious!Growth of web based surveys and the idea of ‘having your say’. Not all entirely serious!

5. NB: Have to vote to see results. I voted 4 times at random in order to get results for this slide!NB: Have to vote to see results. I voted 4 times at random in order to get results for this slide!

6. Recent examples Latest Mori Opinion Poll 2,063 adults Vote intention: 34% Cons, 42% Labour, 15% Lib Dem Poll for Newsnight 1,012 adults Agree 51% Disagree 46% Telephone poll by The Sun Newspaper 95,000 responses Bring back death penalty – 99% agree Mori Opinion Poll – longest running polls used by newspapers and politician as well as social researchers. Latest poll figures Newsnight Poll – used last week. Headline figures that 51% felt noone spoke for them The Sun Newspaper telephone pollMori Opinion Poll – longest running polls used by newspapers and politician as well as social researchers. Latest poll figures Newsnight Poll – used last week. Headline figures that 51% felt noone spoke for them The Sun Newspaper telephone poll

7. Which is most reliable? Issues Sample size Representativeness Question wording How many people were asked? Were they a representative group for the population of interested? Were the questions they were asked fair. Eg. Gordon Brown is a lovely man who likes kittens, are you satisfiedHow many people were asked? Were they a representative group for the population of interested? Were the questions they were asked fair. Eg. Gordon Brown is a lovely man who likes kittens, are you satisfied

8. Size matters…. …..but not as much as you might think Sample sizes and associated errors 500 => +/-4.4% 1,000 => +/-3.1% 5,000 => +/-1.4% 10,000 => +/-1% Does not matter how large the population is!

9. Representative? How was the survey collected? Random sample? ‘Opt-in’, self-selection? In the street? Face-to-face? Telephone? Mail back? Online? Ask audience for reasons why these methods might be problematicAsk audience for reasons why these methods might be problematic

10. Non-response Is the survey biased? Who didn’t respond? How to deal with non-response Only possible if there is a sampling frame Weight data Impute answers As well as question wording bias, non-response bias is huge problem for surveys Weighting of data so that it matches the population as a whole Where it is very important to have complete data, responses may be imputed ‘guessed’ from other dataAs well as question wording bias, non-response bias is huge problem for surveys Weighting of data so that it matches the population as a whole Where it is very important to have complete data, responses may be imputed ‘guessed’ from other data

11. Our Survey Young Person’s Attitude Survey NOT random NOT representative NOT reliable Useful How did you go about answering? Did you have to think or were answers spontaneous? Ambiguous questions? Ask audience to reflect on the questions/how they answeredAsk audience to reflect on the questions/how they answered

12. Results All questions taken from existing surveys Mori Opinion Poll (~2,000) British Social Attitudes (~1,000) British Household Panel Study (~8,000) Comparison with adult responses Remember our results not necessarily representative of young people as a whole!

13. Politics and Voting I Similarities and differences, adults tend to be more dissatisfied – partly this is offset by young people being less sureSimilarities and differences, adults tend to be more dissatisfied – partly this is offset by young people being less sure

14. Politics and Voting II Conservatives currently ahead in adult polls Young people less inclined to vote for ‘main’ parties Relatively high proportion for the Greens May be linked to our next findingConservatives currently ahead in adult polls Young people less inclined to vote for ‘main’ parties Relatively high proportion for the Greens May be linked to our next finding

15. Most important issue in Britain Some issues there is agreement on importance. Both adults and young people see Race relations and Crime as important But young people see Pollution and the Environment as much more important NB: Different methodologies used on this question Some issues there is agreement on importance. Both adults and young people see Race relations and Crime as important But young people see Pollution and the Environment as much more important NB: Different methodologies used on this question

16. Issues in Society: Immigration Collapsed strongly agree and agree Less similarities among adults and young people. Young more favourable towards immigration and half against ID Cards Why?Collapsed strongly agree and agree Less similarities among adults and young people. Young more favourable towards immigration and half against ID Cards Why?

17. Issues in society: Family life Again large difference on whether family life suffers Why? Survey biased?Again large difference on whether family life suffers Why? Survey biased?

18. Education I Differences relatively small but suggest that young people more positive about their schooling than adults % Very well or quite wellDifferences relatively small but suggest that young people more positive about their schooling than adults % Very well or quite well

19. Education II NB: Educational distribution of responses. Young People tend to include more staying on in education and so might expect to be more positive about educationNB: Educational distribution of responses. Young People tend to include more staying on in education and so might expect to be more positive about education

20. Time Use I Generally everyone wants to have more time to spend on things Young people more with friends > family. Vice versa for adultsGenerally everyone wants to have more time to spend on things Young people more with friends > family. Vice versa for adults

21. Leisure Activities Young people do more of these things but order is same among both groups. Eg most often is play sport least often in Concerts and TheatreYoung people do more of these things but order is same among both groups. Eg most often is play sport least often in Concerts and Theatre

22. About you Young Persons’ Attitude Survey Male 39% Female 61% Yorkshire and Humberside 19% South West 14% Other 67% On-line surveys very much out of our controlOn-line surveys very much out of our control

23. Surveys and Social Research Surveys used by wide range of groups in society Government (Census, Labour Force Survey) Newspapers (Opinion polls) Media (Voting shows) Market research (Who buys what, where and when) Social research

24. Social Research Key features/differences between social research and other forms Not for commercial gain Theoretically guided Understand attitudes/behaviours Inform policy and wider debates Strict codes of practice and ethics

25. Social Research Examples from UPTAP programme ‘Being a Muslim in Europe’ ‘Social and Political Trust’ ‘Cohabitation: Attitudes, intentions and behaviour’ ‘Geographies of Happiness and Well-being’ ‘Employment and Cardiovascular Risk’ More details www.uptap.net

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