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A random walk around Britain: a critical assessment of the random walk sample as a method of collecting data on the public's citizenship information needs.

Marcella, Rita; Baxter, Graeme

Authors

Rita Marcella

Graeme Baxter



Abstract

This paper discusses the second stage of the Citizenship Information research project, funded by the British Library Research and Innovation Centre: a national survey, by personal doorstep interview and using the random walk sample method, of the citizenship information needs of almost 900 members of the UK public. The paper provides a critical evaluation of all aspects of the methodology. It discusses: the design and testing of the interview schedule; the sampling methodology employed; the process, and associated difficulties, of recruiting and training interviewers; and the subsequent success rate of the random walk method, together with the problems encountered by interviewers. It also explains why the researchers found it necessary to devise a unique set of guidelines on the random walk method. When compared with national figures, the random walk method reached greater proportions of women, the elderly and retired, those running a home, and those in the lower social classes. The paper argues that, as these are groups that may be deemed to face social exclusion through a lack of access to information, then the survey results are particularly revealing and significant.

Journal Article Type Conference Paper
Start Date Aug 16, 2000
Publication Date Nov 30, 2001
Journal New review of information behaviour research
Publisher New Publisher Required
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 1
Issue 1
Pages 87-104
Institution Citation MARCELLA, R. and BAXTER, G. 2001. A random walk around Britain: a critical assessment of the random walk sample as a method of collecting data on the public's citizenship information needs. New review of information behaviour research, 1(1): proceedings of the 3rd International conference on research in information needs, seeking and use in different contexts (ISIC III), 16-18 August 2000, Gothenburg, Sweden, pages 87-104.
Keywords Collecting data; Citizenship; Information needs

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