UK Data Service data catalogue record for:

Scottish Election Study, 2011

Title details

SN: 8012
Title: Scottish Election Study, 2011
Persistent identifier: 10.5255/UKDA-SN-8012-1
Depositor: Carman, C., University of Strathclyde. Department of Government
Principal investigator(s): Carman, C., University of Strathclyde. Department of Government
Mitchell, J., University of Edinburgh. School of Social and Political Science
Johns, R., University of Essex. Department of Government
Data collector(s): YouGov plc
Sponsor(s): Economic and Social Research Council
Grant number: RES-000-22-4539


The citation for this study is:

Carman, C., Mitchell, J., Johns, R. (2016). Scottish Election Study, 2011. [data collection]. UK Data Service. SN: 8012,

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Subject Categories

Election and campaign studies - Politics
Political behaviour and attitudes - Politics


Abstract copyright UK Data Service and data collection copyright owner.

The 2011 Scottish Parliament elections took place against a very different backdrop from the previous Holyrood elections. The SNP had governed as a minority since 2007, a Coalition Government in London had been in power since May 2010 and the economic context worsened significantly during the previous parliament. If attribution of responsibility was blurred in past elections, the 2011 election was likely to see it obscured to an even greater degree. The Scottish Election Study, 2011 (SES) was specifically designed to explore the manner and extent to which the Scottish electorate is able to punish/reward the Scottish governing party or Westminster governing parties within the context of the still developing multilevel governance arrangements. Addressing a related issue, the SES contained a path-breaking experiment designed to assess Scottish 'multilevel' party identification. Additionally, the debates on Scotland's contested constitutional status were assessed using the questions used in 2007 and in many previous studies but also included more nuanced questions, especially taking account of recent debates on Scotland's constitutional status. Finally, the SES contained modules designed to assess voter reactions to the ballot problems associated with the 2007 elections and voter understanding of and voting behaviour in the same-day Alternative Vote referendum. The 2011 SES continued a landmark series of election studies that provides solid value for money using an internet panel (including respondents from the 2007 study). To benefit the academic and practitioner communities, the data were released online through the SES 2011 website within months of collection.

Further information about the project can also be found on the ESRC's Scottish Election Study 2011 award webpage.

Main Topics:
The SES 2011 followed a two-wave, pre- and post-election, panel design, with the same respondents surveyed at the outset of the campaign and immediately after polling day. The SES was conducted over the internet, with YouGov conducting the fieldwork. Using YouGov, the team were able to add an additional component to the SES survey by re-interviewing respondents from the 2007 SES. Thus, in addition to the pre- and post-election panel, the team were also able to include a 2007-2011 panel component in the SES. The questionnaires developed by the research team sought to retain continuity over time and further develop the SES time series by incorporating as much of the question wording from the 2007 SES as the 2011 aims and objectives allowed. The core battery of 'standard' survey questions, measuring relevant predispositions were included in the survey. In addition to the core battery, new questions were developed to further probe respondent constitutional preferences and responsibility attributions (reflecting the 2011 focus on the multilevel nature of the Scottish elections). Additionally, as noted in a previous section, the 2011 SES included several 'split-half' survey experiments designed to explore multilevel party identification and understanding of political processes.

Coverage, universe, methodology

Dates of fieldwork: 25 April 2011 - 24 April 2012
Country: Scotland
Spatial units: Countries
Observation units: Individuals
Kind of data: Numeric data
Individual (micro) level
Universe: National
Adults resident in Scotland during 2011, including some respondents to the SES 2007.
Time dimensions: Cross-sectional (one-time) study
The study included a panel element in that some respondents from the SES 2007 were also interviewed.
Sampling procedures: Simple random sample; Purposive selection/case studies
Number of units: 2,046 cases
Method of data collection: Self-completion
web-based survey
Weighting: Weighting used. See documentation for details.

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Administrative and access information

Date of release:
First edition: 20 September 2016
Copyright: Copyright C. Carman, J. Mitchell and R. Johns
Access conditions: The depositor has specified that registration is required and standard conditions of use apply. The depositor may be informed about usage. See terms and conditions of access for further information.
Availability: UK Data Service
Contact: Get in touch


Title File Name Size (KB)
SES 2011 - Post Election Questionnaire 8012_ses2011_questionnaire_post-election.pdf 360
SES 2011 - Pre-election Questionnaire 8012_ses2011_questionnaire_pre-election.pdf 373
Study information and citation UKDA_Study_8012_Information.htm 6
READ File read8012.htm 10


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