The online survey for the second Information Literacy for Democratic Engagement project has been running for about three weeks now. We intend to keep it live for another week, so we can’t say anything about what community councillors have told us – yet! However, we can say there are some interesting patterns in how people tackled the survey.
As of Saturday (25th March) evening, 747 people had completed the survey. We want as many people as possible to take the survey, so if you’re a community councillor who hasn’t taken the survey yet, please click here. It may be slightly complex to complete all questions but it really should only take about 15 minutes, and you’ll be contributing to a major piece of work contributing to knowledge of practical ways to support community council work. If you’re not a community councillor, please pass on this link to any you know: https://survey.napier.ac.uk/n/LILDEM.aspx.
So far then the survey has given us 747 fully usable responses, which seems to be quite successful. There are approximately 1160 active community councils in Scotland, so we estimate that there are around 11,000 community councillors. Hence we estimate that we have full responses from about 1% of Scotland’s estimated 11,000 community councillors, but that we have reached 30% of active community councils. Also, the responses represent 27 of Scotland’s local authorities, and these local authorities contain 90% of Scotland’s population. Overall, we have enough data to be sure of our findings, and we look forward to releasing them when they are ready.
If you’re interested in the results, please tell us your email address in the survey. (If you’re not a community councillor, please email Bruce directly.)
Now, an explanation of what’s in the survey. Results will have to wait until the survey is closed and we’ve had a chance to look at the data!
Page 1 asked people to consent to taking the survey. If respondents do not freely consent to participating in this sort of research, it would be unethical to use their responses. Two responses were recorded as not consenting, so their responses will not be used. (I’m slightly concerned that this occurred – respondents should not have been able to proceed without consenting.)
Page 2 asked questions about communities and information gathering. Quite a few respondents did not answer questions on this page, probably due to the apparent effort that would be involved. (To get to the next page, respondents need to answer all lines of the mandatory questions on the current page, so ‘did not answer questions on this page’ actually means ‘did not complete each question on this page’.)
Page 3 asked more questions about communities and information gathering.
Page 4 asked questions about online ‘lurking’ and training needs. The lurking question was mandatory, while the training needs questions were optional. .
Page 5 asked questions respondents to name their local authority and community council, and say how many members their community councils could and actually do have. (That is, we’re interested in the numbers of vacancies on community councils, and how lack of colleagues might affect community councillors’ work.)
180 respondents declined to tell us their community council. This doesn’t matter very much, because we won’t be looking at individual community councils – we only wanted a rough indication of how much of Scotland we’d reached.
Page 6 asked respondents to tell us about their roles on their current and any previous community councils, and what life-experiences might have helped them develop information skills used in community council work.
Finally page 7 asked respondents to tell us their ages, gender, origin, ethnicity, employment status and about their highest level of education. 22 respondents preferred not to tell us some of their demographic data, so these responses will be omitted from, for example, correlations of age, gender or qualifications and information skills.