4150.0 - Time Use Survey: User Guide, 2006  
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Contents >> Survey Methodology >> DATA COLLECTION


Information was obtained in the Time Use Survey partly by interview and partly by self-completion diaries. Trained ABS interviewers collected information, about the household and other members of the household, from an adult member of the selected household for all persons aged 15 years or over in the household. A diary was then left for each of these persons to record their activities over two specified days.

Survey development

Broad user consultation was undertaken during February and March of 2004. A discussion paper was used as the key instrument in obtaining feedback and input from users for the development of the survey. Testing was also carried out to investigate respondent reaction and to ensure the effectiveness of interviewing procedures and the diary format and instructions. A dress rehearsal was conducted in Perth and surrounding areas from 23 September to 5 October 2005. This test was used to:

  • develop improvements to field procedures used in 1997;
  • trial new questions that were added to the diary and the survey interview; and
  • trial the use of the Computer Assisted Interview (CAI) which was used for the first time for the 2006 survey.

Overall, the 2006 Time Use Survey was very similar in its design and procedures to the 1997 survey with the exception of some additional questions that were added to the survey and the use of CAI for the first time. For further detail see Chapter 5 'Changes from previous surveys'.

Field procedures

Selected households were initially approached by mail, informing them of their selection for the survey and advising them that an interviewer would call to arrange a suitable time to conduct the survey interview. A brochure providing some background information about the survey, information concerning the interview process and a guarantee of confidentiality was included in the initial approach letter.

A Computer Assisted Interview was completed with information provided by a responsible adult member of the household. The interviewer instructed the contact person on when and how to complete the diary and provided a diary for each person in on scope in the household. Instructions on completing the diary and example pages were also included in the front of the diary. In addition, each person in on scope was given a letter that provided an explanation of the diary, and a small notebook and pen to allow them to record activities throughout the day. A follow-up visit was made to collect the completed diaries after the specified diary dates.


Interviewers for the survey were recruited from a pool of trained interviewers with previous experience on ABS household surveys. All phases of training emphasised understanding the survey concepts, definitions and procedures in order to ensure that a standard approach was employed by all interviewers involved in the survey. Each interviewer was provided with written instructions detailing the procedures they were required to follow.

Interviewers were allocated a workload, that is, a number of dwellings to conduct interviews and place diaries within successive weeks of the collection fortnight. Overall, workloads were smaller than usual ABS surveys to maximise the possibility of contact and placement of diaries before the days specified for diary completion.

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