Northern Ireland Life and Times Survey, 2004

Data Archive > International Surveys and Data > Single Nation Surveys > Summary


The Northern Ireland Life and Times Survey was launched in the autumn of 1998. Its mission has been to monitor the attitudes and behaviour of people in Northern Ireland during the late 1990s and into the present century, in order to provide a time-series and a public record of how our attitudes and behaviour develop on a wide range of social policy issues. The survey is run on a modular format. Two modules are repeated every year (Political Attitudes and Community Relations), and the rest of the survey varies annually with all the modules designed to be repeated in years to come. The specialty modules for 2004 are Men's Life and Times, Countryside and Farming, Religious Observance, and Grandparenting and Family Life.

Each year, more than 30 countries participate in the International Social Survey Programme (ISSP), in which the same module of questions is asked cross-nationally. Northern Ireland has taken part in this exercise (via NISA) since 1989. The 1998 module covered religion. Full ISSP datasets can be obtained from the Zentralarchiv in Koln, Germany, where the datasets from the member countries are assembled.

Data File
Cases: 1,800
Variables: 464
Weight Variable: WTFACTOR
Please note that all analyses of the adult data should be weighted in order to allow for disproportionate household size. The weighting variable is called WTFACTOR. The only exceptions are the few household variables (for example, tenure and household income), which do not need to be weighted.
Data Collection
Date Collected: October 2004-February 2005
Original Survey (Instrument)
Funded By
Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister; Economic and Social Research Council; Ulster Farmers' Union and Atlantic Philanthropies
Collection Procedures
The 2004 Northern Ireland Life and Times Survey involved 1800 face-to-face interviews with adults aged 18 years or over. The main interview was carried out using computer assisted personal interviewing (CAPI) and the respondent was then asked to complete a self completion questionnaire.
Sampling Procedures
The survey was designed to yield a representative sample of men and women aged 18 and over living in Northern Ireland. The Postal Address File (PAF) was used as the sampling frame for the survey and a simple random sample of addresses was obtained after stratification into three geographic regions (Belfast, East of the Bann and West of the Bann). This was done to ensure the adequate representation of areas of lower population density and is standard practice in Northern Ireland social surveys. At selected addresses, the person whose birthday came next was selected to be the subject of the survey.

The sample selected was slightly larger than necessary in order to provide reserve addresses. Interviewers were instructed to make a total of five calls, or to have received a refusal or other information confirming that an interview would not be obtained, before being issued with reserve addresses. This was to ensure optimal response from the main sample.

The Land and Property Services Agency provides a good sampling frame of addresses but contains no information about the number of people living at an address. Further selection stages were therefore required to convert the listing of addresses to a listing of individuals from which one person (the ‘selected respondent’) is chosen to complete the questionnaire.

The interviewers listed all members of the household eligible for inclusion in the sample: that is, all persons aged 18 or over living at the address. From this listing of eligible adults, the interviewer's computer randomly selected one adult. This person, the selected respondent, was then asked to complete the interview.
Principal Investigators
ARK (Access Research Knowledge), Northern Ireland
Related Publications
For more information go to http://www.ark.ac.uk/nilt/results/relres.html.