4150.0 - Time Use Survey: User Guide, 2006  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 21/02/2008   
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Contents >> Changes from previous surveys >> CODING RULE CHANGES


There were some differences in the coding rules that were used to code the diaries that may have some impact on the comparisons made between the 2006 data and the 1997 data. Some coding rules were changed in 2006 to improve the consistency of the data, the major changes are outlined below.

Child care

Talking/playing/reading to children is an activity category within the Activity Classification. There was a slight change in the way that talking activities were coded to this category. In 1997, when a respondent reported 'talking to family' and there were children under 15 as well as adults present this was usually coded to 'talking for recreation and leisure' and no time was allocated to 'talking to children' unless it was clear that the child was involved. However, in 2006 episodes of 'talking to family' were often split into two episodes to include the time for talking to the adults and talking to the children when there were children under the age of 15 present. The 'talking to children' was coded as the primary activity and the 'talking to adults' was coded as the secondary activity. This was because child care activities were seen as priority activities. In 1997, 'talking to children' was not always seen as a priority activity and was therefore not always recorded as the primary activity. This may have some impact on the comparisons between the time spent on this activity in 1997 and in 2006.


Communication codes were used more consistently throughout the coding process in 2006. For certain activities such as: talking to adults or children; playing or reading to children; socialising; purchasing in a commercial area; and computer use, communication/technology codes were used unless there was specific information in the diary to the contrary. No communication/technology codes were used for employment activities because the majority of people did not provide detail in the diary about their employment activities and therefore no assumptions could be made about the type of communication or technology that was being used during these episodes.

For whom

The 'for whom' column of the diary was also coded more logically in 2006. All personal care activities such as sleeping, eating or personal hygiene were coded as being 'for self'. This was because logically a person cannot be doing these activities for someone else. In 1997 this was not always the case. Some personal care activities such as sleeping and eating were coded as being for 'family' or other people. In 2006, although some respondents may have recorded that they were doing these activities for people other than themselves this was edited during the processing of the diaries so that a consistent logical rule was applied for the personal care activities of sleeping, eating and personal hygiene.

Furthermore, all employment related activities for the main job or other jobs (excluding work breaks) were coded as being 'for work'. Many people recorded that the activity was done for themselves or their family. Once again these were changed during the processing of the diaries to apply a consistent rule across the work episodes. In 1997 this was not the case.


There were some differences in the way that purchasing activities were coded in 2006 compared with 1997. In 1997, activities such as eating at a cafe/restaurant, or having drinks at a pub or nightclub were coded entirely to either eating or social/alcoholic drinking. However, in 2006 the first five minutes of the episodes at the eating or drinking locale were coded to purchasing consumer goods and the remainder was coded to either eating or drinking.


Furthermore, travel to and from all eating and drinking locales was coded to travel associated with purchasing. In 1997, travel to nightclubs or pubs was coded to travel associated with recreation and leisure. This may contribute to an increase in the amount of time spent on travel associated with purchasing and a decrease in the amount of time spent on recreation and leisure.

In 1997, travel to and from work was mostly coded as travel associated with employment related activities unless the activity was one of the priority activities such as domestic, child care or caring for adults/doing volunteer work. However, in 2006 all travel was coded to the purpose of the activity. For example, if someone dropped their child at child care on the way to work, the travel from home to the child care centre was coded to travel associated with child care and the travel from the child care centre to work was coded as travel associated with employment. However, in 1997 this would all have been coded to travel associated with employment activities. This may have an impact on the comparability of the estimates for travel activities.

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