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Testing questions about families

Testing Questions About Families

Along with the Fatherhood Institute, we have been funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) to gather views from parents about how research projects, particularly large social surveys such as Growing Up in Scotland, collect information about family relationships and living arrangements.

In particular, we are interested in how surveys collect information from birth mothers who live with their child about the child’s birth father who lives elsewhere. 

Multiple Speech Bubbles  Why is this research being carried out?

A review by the Fatherhood Institute found that sometimes the questions used in surveys do not always accurately capture the complexity of the relationship and contact arrangements between children and their birth fathers in situations where birth parents live apart. Asking the right questions is important to ensure that different family relationships and arrangements are all properly understood.

community_large Why have I been selected to take part?

We are contacting you because you have taken part in the Growing Up in Scotland study and agreed to be contacted about other research related to parenting. The information you gave as part of the study indicates that the study child’s birth father does not live with you. If your circumstances have changed, please let us know as soon as possible.

Multiple Speech Bubbles Why take part?

The findings will be used to improve questions in future studies to allow that better data is collected and more is understood about families where birth parents live apart.  In turn, this will help ensure that services and policies are better designed to meet the needs of these families.

Smiley Man What will I receive for taking part?

You will receive £20 to thank you for giving your time.

Computer  What’s involved?

You will be asked to complete a paper questionnaire and an interviewer will then talk to you about the questions and your answers. Your interview will last about an hour.  It will take place at an accessible city centre location at a time convenient to you.

Question Mark What will you ask me about?

You may recall that you previously answered questions about your child’s contact with his/her birth father who lives elsewhere. The research team have developed some new questions on this topic.  These questions need to be tested to find out if they make sense and to see if they are difficult to understand or answer. By asking parents such as yourself to answer them, we can see if the questions are working properly. There are no right or wrong answers– we just want to know what you think. Your help is very important and we hope that you will enjoy taking part.

Question Mark Do I have to answer all the questions?

Don’t worry – you don’t have to answer any questions you don’t want to, we can just skip on to the next one.

Padlock How will you deal with my personal information?

We will treat the information you give us in the strictest confidence under the EU General Data Protection Regulation. You can find out more about our credentials and who we are here and how we protect your personal information here.

Info Where can I find out more?

If you would like more information, if you would prefer not to be contacted about this particular project or if your circumstances have changed, please contact Lesley Birse by telephone on 0131 240 0210 or via email at