Survey of Cultural Habits
and Practices in Spain

Methodology. Survey of cultural habits and practices 2002-2003

  1. Survey objectives
  2. Unit to be researched
  3. Area of research
  4. Reference period
  5. Main concepts
  6. Main variables
  7. Classification characteristics
  8. Sampling design
    1. Type of sample
    2. Size of sample. Allocation
    3. Sample selection
    4. Distribution of sample over time
    5. Estimators
  9. Data collection and processing
  10. Publishing of results

1. Survey objectives

The Survey of Cultural Habits and Practices in Spain 2002-2003 is a piece of non periodic sampling research using a sample of 12,000 individuals. Its main objective is to provide information which enables us to better understand the demand among the population for the activities within the different cultural sectors. Specifically, it gives the indicators for cultural participation, which enable us to consider and differentiate: general habits among the population with regard to the different cultural activities; specific practice and consumption levels of activities and/or products in this field; Attitudes towards and opinions on these activities and their practice and the levels of cultural equipment which Spanish people have. The results enable us to analyse and give a diagnosis of the state of culture in Spain.

An attempt has been made to obtain indicators which are compatible with previous studies, enabling time comparisons, and with the EUROSTAT guidelines, established by the EUROSTAT Working Group for Cultural Statistics and more specifically its Cultural Participation Task Force, in which the Ministry has participated, for which reason there are points of reference with similar European data.

2. Unit to be researched

The unit researched focuses on a person aged 15 or above, who lives in the family home.

3. Area of research

The geographic area of this survey covers the entire national territory, except Ceuta and Melilla.

The population area is limited to those aged 15 or over who live in family homes.

The sectorial area covers the reading of books not related to work or studies, the reading of periodical publications and libraries; scenic and musical arts: theatre, opera, zarzuela (traditional Spanish operetta), and ballet/dance; classical and contemporary music; the audio-visual sector: cinema, video, television and radio; new technologies: computers and the Internet; museums, art galleries, archive and monuments, and other activities related to culture or free time.

4. Reference period

Individual information was gathered over a calendar year from 2002 to 2003. Specifically from April 2002 to March 2003. The reference periods have always referred to the time the interview was being carried out.

The reference periods for the results presented are various. This is due to the fact that most of the variables referred to a number of time periods defined by the characteristics of the different sectors analysed and the participation indicators. In general terms, a greater temporal breakdown is given for the indicators relating to habits than those referring to the specific practice of an activity, with the latter being more frequently used for the last quarter and the last year. With regard to cultural consumption, the reference period most commonly used is the quarter prior to the interview being carried out.

5. Main concepts

Level of interest. Participants were asked to give their level of interest in a number of cultural activities and this information is presented in the accompanying tables on a rising scale from 0 to 10.

General habits for carrying out a particular cultural activity. This is a generic indicator which shows the habitual behaviour of the people researched in relation to a number of cultural activities. It is not necessarily related to the practice of this activity. Both the questionnaire and the statistical results tables allude to a number of time periods in order to estimate the frequency of the habit, through this does not necessarily indicate the practice of said habit.

Actual level of practice or consumption (attendance) of a particular cultural activity.. Those who indicated that they carried out or consumed (attended) a certain cultural activity were asked to given further details regarding the specific levels of this practice or consumption in a given period, in most cases referring to the last quarter or last year. These are therefore indicators relating to whether the practice has been carried out in a particular period and, for those who have carried out the activity, the level of intensity, how often or how much time they have dedicated to the practice.

Level of satisfaction. Participants were asked to give their level of interest in a number of cultural activities or shows and this information is presented in the accompanying tables on a rising scale from 0 to 10.

6. Main variables

Table 1 gives a synthesis of the main groups of variables given in this publication for each type of activity.

TABLE 1. Synthesis of the main indicators researched.
  Generic Interest Habit Practice / Attendance Description of the last practice / attendance Description of the last purchase / rental
Preferences and use of time X          
Equipment. X          
Reading   X        
Books not related to work or studies     X X X X
Periodical publications     X      
Libraries     X X X  
Scenic arts X X X X X  
General music   X       X
Concerts X X X X X  
Cinema. X X X X X  
Video X   X X   X
Television and radio.     X      
Computers X   X X    
Museums X X X X X  
Monuments       X    
Other practices       X    

Table 1. Synthesis of the main indicators researched.

In their reference to preferences and use of free time in the numerous possible hobbies and forms of entertainment, these generic indicators have been included solely to put the rest of the information on cultural habits and practices in context. They are not therefore, and are not intended to be, an exhaustive study of the use of free time.

With regard to the reading of books it should be noted that the indicators refer exclusively to the reading of books not related to work or studies, a very important factor for establishing comparisons with other sources of information. Included in this type of reading, as well as the general habit and whether participants have read or not in the last three months (including the intensity and number of books) and in the last year, is the amount of time dedicated to this type of reading. Also included are purchase indicators. Press and magazines have been studied less in-depth, with information gathered only on the general frequency of reading.

With regard to stage arts, musical arts and cinema, as a group, as well as the basic indicators for level of interest, habits and practice of the cultural activities included in the study, a description of the last consumption/practice carried out is included: the day of the week on which the activity/consumption took place; with whom; method of payment; satisfaction; type of establishment in which the show was held; genre or type of show and theme (where relevant). For some of these, other matters are also researched: specific habits and uses with regard to a particular activity; tastes/preferences; reasons for consumption or practice; barriers to consumption or practice.

Also given are general indicators relating to music and in particular to the purchase of recorded music. With regard to video as well as the indicators for habits and practices, those referring to purchase and rental are investigated.

For other areas, such as television and radio, is was considered more appropriate not to refer to a specific time period but instead to give an overall indication of the intensity of the habit. For this reason information was gathered relating to number of viewing/listening hours per day on week days and at the weekend (television and radio) and also the listening frequency for radio.

With regard to computers and Internet use, an attempt has been made to gauge the overall frequency of computer and Internet use in different places and situations and the number of hours of use/navigating in the last week.

In the field of Monuments, Art Galleries and Archives practice over the last year has been taken into account, given that these are areas which can operate over a period longer than three months. Likewise, with regard to supplementary training courses and other activities relating to culture or leisure,- conferences, cultural centres, theme parks, sporting events, bullfighting, circus, etc. - only the practice relating to a year-long period has been included.

7. Classification characteristics

The personal classification characteristics used in this publication are: gender; age; level of education; living and working status. Results are also given classified by the place of residence of the participant: autonomous community and size of municipality.

For classification by age the following age groups are used: From 15 to 19 From 20 to 24 From 25 to 34 From 35 to 44 From 45 to 54 From 55 to 64 From 65 to 74 75 and above.

The level of education is classified as follows: Basic schooling not completed (less than eight years of schooling); Basic schooling with no qualification (eight years or more of schooling but with no qualification at the end); Basic schooling with qualification (obtained Bachiller Elemental (General Basic Education), EGB (Elementary and Middle School) or ESO (Compulsory Secondary Education) qualification or Certificate of Primary Studies); General Secondary Education (obtained Bachiller Superior (High School Diploma), BUP (GCSE), Bachiller LOGSE (GCSE under the Educational System General Organisatio Act), COU (GCE A-Level studies) or PREU (former COU) qualification); Vocational training (FPI, FP intermediate grade, Industrial Technician or equivalent, FP II, FP upper grade, Master's Degree in Industry or equivalent); Tertiary Education (Diploma, Degree or Doctorate, Architecture or Engineering (Technical or Degree Level).

The living status is divided into the following groups: Single person living in parent's home; Independent single, divorced, separated or widowed person (with or without children); Married or in partnership without children; Married or in partnership with children under 18 years of age; Married or in partnership with children over 18 years of age living at home (if they also have children under 18 years of age they are included in the previous caption); Married or in partnership living alone (for older children); Other (situations such as single, separated or divorced who live with a second-degree family member, people with no family relationship who live together, etc.).

Classification by work status is as follows: Currently in employment; Unemployed; Retired/pensioner; Student; Housework; Other (situations such as: unpaid work for organisations, pensions other than retirement pensions, etc.).

Autonomous community: as this is a survey directed towards individuals, the geographic classification corresponds to the place of residence and not to the place in which the event or cultural participation has taken place, a particularly important factor when analysing the results for attendance at shows given in this publication.

Size of municipality: as in the case of the autonomous community, because this is a survey directed at individuals the classification by municipality refers to the place of residence and not the place where the show or cultural participation has taken place. The size groups used are: Municipalities of less than 5,000 inhabitants; From 5,001 to 30,000 From 30,001 to 200,000 From 200,001 to 500,000 more than 500,000 inhabitants.

8. Sampling design

8.1. Type of sample

The type of sample used is stratified polyetapic. The sampling units for each stage were as follows: first stage units: municipalities; second stage units: buildings or homes; third stage units: households; fourth stage units: population over 15 years of age.

The first stage units were grouped in strata defined by autonomous community and size of municipality, using the following groupings: Municipalities of less than 5,000 inhabitants; between 5,001 and 10.000; between 10,001 and 30.000; between 30,001 and 100.000; between 100,001 and 200.000; between 200,001 and 500.000; between 500,001 and 1.000,000; more than 1,000,000 inhabitants.

8.2 Size of sample.Allocation

The sample consists of 12,180 units from the last stage, people aged 15 and above.

The distribution of this sample among the different autonomous communities was achieved using criteria compromising between uniform and proportional allocation. Initially 350 units were assigned for each autonomous community and the 6,230 remaining units were divided proportionally among the total population aged 15 or above living in each community. This was an attempt to guarantee that the sample was representative in all the autonomous communities, with a relatively low margin of error in those with smaller populations. With regard to the size of the municipality, this entailed making an allocation slightly higher than the proportional allocation in municipalities with more than 50,000 inhabitants and lower in those with less than 30,000 so that the latter, which are common in smaller autonomous communities, were not over-represented and sufficient sampling sizes were guaranteed in those municipalities where the complexity of the cultural habits of residents was greater.

TABLE 1. Synthesis of the main indicators researched.
  First stage units (municipalities) Last stage units (people)
TOTAL: 279 12,180
Andalusia 28 1,452
Aragon 13 536
Asturias (Principality of) 12 519
Balearic Islands 13 488
Canary Islands 15 626
Cantabria 13 441
Castilla & Leon 18 617
Castilla-La Mancha 20 726
Catalonia 24 1,308
Region of Valencia 14 980
Extremadura 25 515
Galicia 20 760
Madrid (Community of ) 15 1,168
Murcia (Region of) 12 535
Navarre (Autonomous Community) 12 440
Basque Country 14 667
La Rioja 11 402

Table 2. First and last stage sampling units by autonomous community.

Table 2 shows the first and last stage sampling sizes, municipalities and people aged 15 and above respectively. The number of municipalities in the sample, as can be seen in the table, is around 279, basically for reasons relating to cost and efficiency in the field work. It was also decided not to carry out more than one interview per household and, except in cases where the size of the building was excessive, not to select more than one household per building. This way the second and third stage sampling sizes, buildings and households, are similar and the latter is identical to the number of people interviewed, 12,180. Using the sampling sizes described and taking into account the estimate of proportions in the worst-case scenario (P=Q=0,5), the sampling error can be estimated at around 1% with a confidence level of 95%, reaching up to 5% for autonomous communities. For reach these figures we have taken into account a hypotheses using a selection of individuals in each autonomous community chosen through simple random sampling. The sampling errors for the total have been obtained using stratified sampling formulas.

8.3. Sample selection

The sample selection for first stage units, municipalities, was made though a random sample from each stratum, defined as the intersection between the size of the municipality and the autonomous community. Within each municipality, the selection of second stage units, buildings or homes, was made through a random selection of route departure points, from which a maximum of 10 buildings or homes were selected, guaranteeing a minimum distance between them. In each building or home one third stage unit, a household, was randomly selected. Within each of these the last stage unit, the person aged 15 or above, was chosen for interview, based on gender, age and number of household members.

8.4. Temporal distribution of sample

The objectives of the survey required the differences in cultural behaviour associated with different times of the year to be appropriately estimated, so that each was correctly represented. To this end the total sample was divided into four quarterly subsamples of equal size which enabled the activity of the quarter immediately prior to the time of the survey to be recorded, thus recording the variability produced during the course of a year. As we have mentioned, the quarters used were the second, third and fourth of 2002 and the first of 2003.

8.5. Estimators

Ratio estimators were used for the stratified sampling using the intersections between autonomous communities and municipality size groupings as strata and, as population values, the figures based on the Population Census from 2001 and the population forecasts as they stood at 31 December 2002 for people over 15 years of age resident in family homes.

Subsequently, the estimates were brought in line with external sources in order to adapt the estimates to the population distribution known by these sources. The adjustments applied were as follows: in each autonomous community, by age group and gender; in the national total, on the one hand, for the variable number of household members and on the other, for each gender intersection and relation with economic activity. As well as the information from the survey itself, the population estimates for each of the intersections obtained from the Active Population Survey for the fourth quarter of 2002 and the Population Census from 2001 were used in devising these factors.

9. Data collection and processing

The homes in the sample were visited by trained interviewers who directly gathered the cultural participation data from the selected person from each household. The interviews were carried out between 10:00 and 14:00 and 17:00 and 20:30 in order to help locate inactive household members and to prevent any problems locating working or unemployed people. The duration of the interviews varied depending on the individuals level of cultural participation, ranging between 20 and 40 minutes.

The questionnaire used in the interview was divided into a number of modules. A general module for gathering basic research indicators and other more specific modules for obtaining particular information on each of the areas of study: reading, each of the scenic arts, music, concerts, cinema, video, television and radio, computers and Internet, museums, archaeological sites and archives. It also included a caption dedicated to the classification variables of the person being interviewed and the cultural equipment which they had in their home. In each of the quarterly questionnaires, basically the same information was required, although there were some mobile blocks used for gathering precise information for a particular quarter.

Once the field work was completed and the questionnaires were received, the questionnaires were checked in order to detect any possible errors. The checking was carried out using two methods: checking of individual questionnaires, analysing the invalid and inconsistent values on the questionnaire; analysis of added behaviour of some variables, studying their distribution by classification variables and making comparisons with other statistical sources.

Once this task was completed the questionnaires underwent a series of processes in order to obtain an elevation factor and prepare the questionnaires for results analysis.

10. Publishing of results

The results obtained from the survey are available in the monograph publications "2002-2003 SURVEY OF SPANISH CULTURAL HABITS AND PRACTICES. Detailed results" and " 2002-2003 EHPCE. Descriptive analysis of main results". These are two complementary publications which can be accessed via the Internet at and

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