2011 census: Research
We did a lot of research to make sure the census took users' views into account.
Cognitive testing research 2009
Research company IpsosMORI conducted cognitive testing of some questions for the 2011 census.
The cognitive testing allowed us to check:
- whether a question worked as intended
- if we provided enough information for people to provide accurate answers
The research also helped us develop our questionnaires by suggesting improvements to wording, layout and routing.
Read reports from our testing about:
We must thoroughly test questions before we can consider them suitable for the census.
When researching and testing questions, we consider:
- how acceptable the questions would be to the public
- whether the questions could be asked in a way that produces reliable answers
- whether other ways of collecting the information already exist
We used focus groups, online questionnaires and surveys to research our questions for the 2011 census.
Between Autumn 2004 and January 2006 we ran an online questionnaire asking for views on the 2001 census.
Responses to the questionnaire helped us learn about census users’ changing data needs.
Read the Final Summary of Questionnaire Responses.
We conducted focus groups across Scotland to understand the quality and acceptability of new questions. We met with a wide range of groups, including:
- the elderly
- young people
- religious and faith groups
- rural communities
Sexual orientation in the census
We investigated adding a sexual orientation question to the census using a small-scale postal survey in 2005.
This survey was sent to 4,400 randomly selected households in Scotland. Half of the survey forms had a sexual orientation question, while half did not.
After this research, we decided not to include a sexual orientation question in the 2011 census.
Read more about the survey and its findings in Sexual Orientation in the Census.
We met with people and organisations with special knowledge. This helped us ensure the census was accessible to the whole community.
These included meetings with:
- blind and partially sighted people
- deaf and deafblind people
- disabled people
- young males
- minority ethnic communities
- asylum seekers