SCOTTISH GOVERNMENTScotStat Network of Local Government and Public Body AnalystsSURVEY CONFERENCE 16th March 2010 Edinburgh
‘The use of secondary survey data sources in practice’ Tony Glendinning Department of Sociology School of Social Science University of Aberdeen email@example.com
Some funded projects using primary data collected by means of the survey method: • Health and health concerns of rural youth • Young people and health inequalities • Young people and low self-worth • Youth in post-socialist Siberia: new social divides
Many of these projects can be set against the recurrent theme of youth as a problem: • See, JEFFS, T., and SMITH, M., (1998), The problem of "youth" for youth work, Youth and Policy, 62: 45-66. Where the wider context has been to inform evidence-based policy on youth: • See, MUNCIE, J., (2009), Youth & Crime (3rd ed.), Sage: Thousand Oaks CA.
The undercurrent has been to formulate research projects with youth in terms of: • Social problems • Vulnerable groups • Politicised policy contexts
However, today I am going to speak about another contemporary problem, ReligionI am going to do this in order to illustrate some of the challenges facing the researcher in using secondary survey data sources as a method
This is a topic which has the potential to be sensitive and emotiveThe issue is the changing place of religion in politics and public lifeBut what is required in advance of identifying and analysing any secondary survey data sources are well-formulated research questions
Recent research claims: • The ‘de-privatization’ of religion • A ‘post-secular’ Europe • A ‘polarization’ between the religious and the secular as to the public place of religion
Clearly, it is important that we are well-informed about what the public thinks about the place of religion since this should influence the debateAnd that we have well-formulated research questions from the research literature, not ‘problems’But do we have the data?
Our goal is to: • assess change in attitudes to the public place of religion in Europe, first in Britain • by means of repeat questions • from large-scale social surveys • since the late 1990s at least
Possible secondary survey sources: • European Values Survey (EVS) • British Social Attitudes (BSA) Survey Other Research Studies Data Archives and Question Banks
EVS ‘repeat’ questions • Four cross-sectional sweeps of the EVS since the early 1980s • But only one question in common, ‘confidence in the churches’ • In 1999 and 2008, there were another two questions, about religious leaders’ influence on government and about the religious beliefs of elected officials
BSA ‘repeat’ questions: • The 2008 BSA included an extensive module of questions on religion (ISSP) • There were a total of six question in common with the previous BSA to include religion as a topic area in 1998 • Only two of the six ‘repeat’ questions overlap with the 1999 and 2008 EVS
Table 2X: Changing attitudes to the place of religion in politics in Britain 1998 & 2008
Multivariate analysis: • The six questions from 1998 and 2008 BSA surveys (Table 1) allow us to construct a scale (a = 0.72) which appears both reliable and valid • And we may then conduct a multivariate analysis of the changing attitudes of religious groups which controls for gender, age and education…
Coda:But we have to check on the representativeness of the BSA samplesThe BSA ‘repeat’ questions on the public place of religion were included only in the supplementary self-complete questionnaires which were administered to sub samples of interview participantsWhich takes to another of today’s issues, non-response …