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Core Survey Questions

Core questions are those that will be included in all Scottish Government cross-sectional surveys (from January 2012) and from which data will be pooled to provide improved estimates (see the Long Term Strategy and associated Delivery Plan for more information).

Please note that there is no need for the questions to all be asked as a block in any survey - they can each be added into surveys at the most appropriate point, so they do not seem incoherent to participants, although it is necessary to think about the effect that placement may have on responses.

The questions cover the following topics:

Household grid (household relationship matrix / household type)


Age / Date of birth

Legal marital or civil partnership status



Self-assessed health



Mental wellbeing

Sexual orientation

Religion / Belief

Educational attainment

Household income

Economic activity


Car ownership or access

Country of birth

Perception of local crime rate

Perception of local police performance

Harmonised Questions are those that may occur in more than one survey for which it is desirable to use the same wording and response categories to aid comparability. There are currently harmonised questions for:

Number of rooms

Number of bedrooms

Mode of transport to work/school

Accommodation type

National identity

Living as a couple

Disability and Long Term Health - Impairments

Click here to see details of core and harmonised questions.

The topic coverage of the core questions were reviewed following a ScotStat consultation with survey users in Summer 2010. A paper summarising the background, criteria applied, consultation responses received and decisions taken can be accessed here: Background and results of the 2010 Core Question Review

Scottish Government commissioned research to assess the possibility of mode and sequencing effects for three of the core questions: Sexual Identity; Mental Wellbeing; and Perception of Local Crime Rate. A report of the research results can be seen here.

If you have any comments or queries relating to the core or harmonised questions, please contact the Survey Methodology and Co-ordination team in the Office of the Chief Statistician on 0131 244 3339.