Frequently asked questions

Why have I been chosen to take part?

What’s in it for me?

Is the study confidential?

Who is carrying out the study?

Why is the study important?

What does the study involve?

What’s involved this year?

What if I move home between interviews?

Where can I get further advice and information on parenting and childcare?

Why have I been chosen to take part?

To visit every family with young children would take too long and be too costly, so we have selected a number of families at random from every family that receives child benefit. We have taken extra special care to ensure that, taken together, all the families and children we have chosen are representative of all families and children in Scotland. The project will look at the experiences of children in all areas of Scotland.

We started in 2005 with two groups of children:

• 5,000 babies born between June 2004 and May 2005
• 3,000 children aged between two and three years old born between June 2002 and May 2003

In 2010/11, we selected a further group of 6000 babies born between March 2010 and February 2011.

In total, around 14,000 children from all over the country have been chosen. Each child and family that is selected is an important part of our overall picture and therefore, if a family cannot take part for any reason, they cannot be replaced by another family.

You might find that some of your neighbours will also have been invited to take part. This is because we have randomly selected certain areas on which to focus (this includes your neighbourhood). The areas we have chosen are right across the country, so that when all the interviews have finished, we will have collected information from people who live right across Scotland in the full range of different neighbourhoods.

What’s in it for me?

The information you give us about your views and circumstances will enable the Government to act and make improvements for the people who most need them. So you will be doing a favour for the whole of society and – possibly – for families in similar circumstances to your own. You and your child will receive a gift to say thank you for taking part and giving up your time.

Experience on similar studies also suggests that people often enjoy talking about their child and their experiences as they grow up. So we hope that you find taking part both interesting and enjoyable – please let the interviewer know what you think of the questionnaire, we welcome your feedback. You can also give us feedback via e-mail at gus@scotcen.org.uk or by phoning our FREEPHONE number 0800 652 2704.

Is the study confidential?

Yes! Your answers will be treated in strict confidence, as stated in the Data Protection Act.

We take great care to protect the confidentiality of the information we are given. The study results will never be in a form which can reveal your identity and will be used for statistical research purposes only. When we report the results form the study, we will be looking at patterns of responses across the population as a whole – not at the responses of individual people. No information will be released from the study that could identify any individuals or families.

In addition, all respondents have the right to withdraw from the study at any time.

Unlike other surveys that you may have taken part in, the information you provide is not used to help companies sell their products or for marketing. Rather, it is used to help the Government understand life in Scotland and to design policies which aim to help people.

Social research, like the Growing Up in Scotland study, is governed by strict guidelines and codes of conduct which protects your identity and the answers you give. For example, we are not allowed to say to anyone whether or not you have taken part. Because you are protected in this way, there is no need to be worried about any of the answers you give; we will never pass this information on to anyone in such a way that you can be identified.

You can also be assured that taking part in the study will not lead to junk mail or any other unwanted contact. The research team will send a newsletter once a year and a thank you letter for taking part. That is it!

Who is carrying out the study?

The study is being carried out by ScotCen Social Research in collaboration with the Centre for Research on Families and Relationships on behalf of the Scottish Government. The Scottish Government employs researchers who will use GUS data to make sure policy makers are fully informed of what life in Scotland is really like for families with young children. We also work in collaboration with a number of academic researchers who are experts in research on children and families.

The data (and reports from the study) are also made available to people in the wider community, such as universities, so that additional research can be done.

In this way, we hope to ensure that the most is made of all the data collected. It also means that people with a wide range of perspectives on British society can offer their own interpretations of the data.

ScotCen Social Research is part of NatCen Social Research , Britain’s largest independent, non-profit social research institute. We carry out many important research studies for the Scottish Government, UK government departments, research councils, voluntary organisations and charitable foundations. All of our interviewers abide by a code of conduct and register with the local police of the area in which they are interviewing.

Why is the study important?

The important thing about the Growing Up in Scotland study is that it is uniquely Scottish. A lot of studies look at the UK as a whole, but this study only includes children and families in Scotland.

The study is intended to provide information in relation to a range of different areas of relevance to the lives of young children and their families, including:

• Childcare and issues relating to work/life balance
• Parenting and family life
• Child health and development
• Parental health
• Access to, awareness of and use of services for young children and families

The main aim of the study is to look at what impact Government policies have on important things like health, income and the wellbeing of children. The results from the study will help departments across the Government to:

• Be aware of the important issues facing families in Scotland today
• To develop policies which will work to address these issues
• Check that policies are working well and, if not, how they can be changed for the better

Policy makers at the Scottish Government will use findings from the study to plan services in the future, so you have a real chance to make a difference to policies affecting children in Scotland. The results of the study will enable the government to develop policies to address any issues raised, and to check that policies are working well – and if not, how they can be changed for the better. By carrying out studies like this, the government is offering you a chance to make your views count. In this way you could make a difference to policies affecting children in Scotland.

Click here to find out who has been using findings from the study

What does the study involve?

If you have been chosen to take part in GUS your name and address is given to an interviewer from the ScotCen Research who will get in touch with you.

The interview will take place at your home at a time convenient to you. Interviews will last for about an hour and will involve some questions which the interviewer will ask you. He or she will then enter your answers into their lap top computer. Taking part is very straightforward and the interviewer will be able to help you with any problems you have as well as answer any questions. With your permission, your child will also have the chance to be involved by having their height and weight measured, by completing some exercises to look at their cognitive development and by answering some of the questions themselves (from the age of around 8 years).

An important part of the Growing Up in Scotland Study is that it is longitudinal. This means that we follow every family each year to see how people’s circumstances change and how children develop. This makes the study unique as it provides the Government with information on how family life is changing over time and the effect that different policies appear to be having on people’s lives.

This makes it especially important that the families we have selected continue to take part every year. If families are unable to take part, we lose important data on whether their circumstances have got better or worse, or whether they feel local services have improved. As a result, the Government has less information about how its policies are working for everyone.

Being part of the Growing Up in Scotland Study is a relatively small commitment. Once the interview is completed, we will not need to speak to you again for another year or more. However, if your contact details (address, telephone number) change, we would be extremely grateful if you could let us know using this form.

What’s involved this year?

This year (2017), interviews with families in the older cohort (families with children born in 2004 or 2005) will include an additional element: If you have a partner and you live together, we would like him or her to complete a short paper questionnaire. Your interviewer will send this to you in advance of the interview. Please ask your partner to complete the questionnaire as soon as they can. Once completed they can simply insert the questionnaire into the sealable envelope provided and give this to the interviewer when he or she comes to visit.

We will be sending you a questionnaire if our records show that you were living with a partner when we last spoke to you. If you haven’t received a questionnaire but think you should have, please talk to your interviewer who will give you a copy. If you are no longer living with your partner, he or she will not need to complete the questionnaire.

What if I move home between interviews?

Please complete this change of details form or e-mail us at gus@scotcen.org.uk

Where can I get further advice and information on parenting and childcare?

Click here for links to useful websites and organisations.

Remember, if you find that you have a question which is not answered here, please contact the research team at gus@scotcen.org.uk or on FREEPHONE number 0800 652 2704 and we will do our best to answer the question that you have.

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