Since the New Year I’ve been looking at the 400+ completed questionnaires that came out of the Isis Social Impact Survey. I’ve written a programme that can pull out particular groups (e.g. women), and display their responses, either as pie charts or completed questionnaires.
I’ve put up one of these over on the private Social Impact Survey blog (accessible only by Isis pollsters), but there’s been little response so far, except from Roobeedoo. So I thought I’d post something about it here, to see if I can raise a bit more interest. Because I’m finding it very interesting.
The survey questionnaire asks a number of questions (you can see one of the questionnaires here), and the responses indicate whether, in the aftermath of smoking bans, people are going to pubs and cafes and restaurants more or less, seeing friends and family more or less, spending more or less time at home, and so on. They’re also reporting in which places they’ve been adversely affected. And quite often they’re adding their own comments.
All of this can be reported. But I’ve come to realise that some quite interesting things can be teased out if combinations of answers are considered.
For example, some people say they’re going to pubs and cafes less, and spending more time at home, but also seeing the same or more of friends and family. It seems to me that such people are the ones who have started having smoky-drinkies at home. Their social lives have shifted from the pubs and cafes to their homes. And they may indeed see more of their families if their behaviour has changed in this manner. They might also be people whose overall quality of life has diminished little or not at all. It might even have improved.
But then there is the group that goes to pubs and cafes less, spends much more time at home, and also sees less of friends and family. These would seem to be the people who have become socially isolated by smoking bans. (I should know, because I’m one.)
So that’s two quite interesting bits of information that might be teased out of the survey.
Also I’ve been wondering if something might be said about the economic impact of smoking bans. If people say they are adversely affected by smoking bans in pubs and cafes and restaurants, and got much less to them, then it would follow that the pub and cafe and restaurant trade would lose custom. But also, if people spend much more time at home, they’re probably spending a lot less. For example, I spend a lot of time at home, and on the days when I don’t go out at all, I spend absolutely nothing. And whenever I do go out, I seem to dribble money wherever I go. The only way I can spend money at home is by buying things online. But I only ever buy a book or two that way occasionally. But maybe other people spend their money online buying music, or games, or whatever. What fraction of the population is online, and how much do they buy online? And do they buy online from their own countries, or do they spend the money elsewhere?
Also, if people say that they are adversely affected at pubs, and also that they go less to them, doesn’t that suggest that if they are adversely affected at hotels, clubs, beaches, etc, they’ll be going less to them too, and spending less money in those places?
Anyway, it seems to me that more information can be teased out of the survey than is readily apparent.
I haven’t thought about what the final report is going to look like. I’m inclined to keep it short and simple, and use graphic displays (e.g. pie charts). And also write it in the same way that I write this blog, rather than pretending to be ‘academic’ or ‘official’.
I haven’t thought about publication either. I tend to do things one at a time, crossing bridges when I get to them. Once the analysis is complete, and the report is written, I’ll think about that.
I won’t post up any of my findings here until the report is ready. But I’ll periodically post stuff on the Isis Social Impact Survey blog. So if any of the pollsters who took part in the survey want to contribute their thoughts, that will mostly be the place to do it.