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Public Attitudes

Visits to the Outdoors

Metaname Metavalue
Source SHS - Scottish Household Survey
Description The Scottish Household Survey (SHS) is a continuous survey based on on a sample of the general population in private residences in Scotland. One random adult in each surveyed household was asked a series of question. For the visits to the outdoors question the adult was asked to describe how often they visited the outdoors from a range of possible categories. Those categories which were once a week or more often were grouped together to produce a single figure for each year.
Accuracy / Suitability / Reliability Although the SHS sample is chosen at random, the people who take part in the survey will not necessarily be a representative cross-section of the population. Like all sample surveys the results of the SHS are estimates of the corresponding figures for the whole population and these results might vary from the true values in the population for three main reasons:
1) The sample source does not completely cover the population because accommodation in hospitals, prisons, military bases, larger student halls, etc. are excluded from the sampling frame. The SHS provides a sample of private households rather than all households. The effect of this on the representativeness of the data are not known. 2) Some people refuse to take part in the survey and some cannot be contacted by interviewers. If these people are systematically different from the people who are interviewed, this represents a potential source of bias in the data. Comparison of the SHS data with other sources suggests that for the survey as a whole, any bias due to non-response is not significant. 3) Samples always have some natural variability because of the random selection of households and people within households. In some areas where the sample is clustered, the selection of sampling points adds to this variability.
Each of these sources of variability becomes much more important when small sub-samples of the population are examined. Without knowing the true values (for the population as a whole) of some quantities, we cannot be sure about the extent of any such biases in the SHS. However, comparison of SHS results with information from other sources suggests that they are broadly representative of the overall Scottish population, and therefore that any non-contact or non-response biases are not large overall. However, such biases could, of course, be more significant for some sub-groups of the population or in certain Council areas, particularly those that have the highest non-response rates.
Generally speaking, single adult and large adult households are under-represented, and single pensioner and older smaller households over-represented in the SHS.
Further information on the accuracy of SHS data are available through our Methodology and Fieldwork Outcomes report and in summary form in the Annual Report.
Quality Assurance The SHS is a Scottish government National Statistics Publication and is underpinned by sound methods and assured quality.
We produce annually a ‘Methodology and Fieldwork Outcomes’ report which provides information on the survey methodology, including sampling, data collection methods and limitations of SHS data. It also includes information on fieldwork targets and outcomes, data quality and weighting of the SHS.
Comparability Methodology, definitions and question wording in the Scottish Household Survey and Scottish Recreation Survey are similar and so they can be directly compared and used to construct a time series. This is also true of the upcoming Scottish Peoples and Nature Survey. In other surveys methodology is different and are not comparable.
Data Revisions The SHS adheres to the corporate policy statement on revisions and corrections noted here:
Website address
Scotland Performs Increase people's use of Scotland's outdoors