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Sociology: People


Recycling in Scotland

Understanding Waste & Recycling in Scottish Households


Participants Wanted for Research!

Do you live in Edinburgh or the Lothians and are interested in helping answer questions like these?

  • What do people think about waste and recycling where they live?
  • What motivates people's behaviour towards the environment?
  • What do people think about when they go shopping?
  • What is the role of values in making decisions? 

If yes, then read on for further information on how you can take part.

The Project

The project is being conducted in two stages. The first examined survey data on people's claimed recycling activity in Scotland and the second is looking more closely at how people in Edinburgh and the Lothians live with waste and recycling in their everyday lives. This will involve placing recycling diaries in up to 20 households and conducting short interviews to get a better understanding of each household's unique experiences.

So what would be involved?

Taking part in the study would involve answering a few preliminary questions about your household's waste and recycling activity over the telephone and arranging a time for me to come to your home to talk to you about your household's experiences of waste and recycling. To help me get a better understanding this would involve you keeping a simple Household Recycling Diary for a two-week period to record the rubbish people in your household generate and the recycling you do or don't do. This will help me get a better understanding of why you might choose to recycle or not, and what makes it easier or harder for you to take part where you live. But don't worry, keeping the diary will not take up too much time and is not complicated and you will be given full support and guidance on how to use it. After the diary has been completed an interview of no more than an hour would be held with your household to explore the issues raised in your diary and any other issues that might help me get a better understanding of the experiences you go through on a normal day.

What would happen to the things I say or write?

If you agree to take part, you will need to complete a daily diary and the interviews will be audio recorded and transcribed for the purposes of analysis. I will use this information to write the PhD thesis of the research and any other publications. While I might use some of your exact words in my report, it will not have your name or address in it so on-one will know it was you who took part.

What about my privacy?

All of the information you give in the diary and interview(s) will be strictly confidential and kept secure. This means you can talk about the interview with anyone you want, but I won't talk to anyone about the specific things you tell me. The project is being administered under the ethical requirements of the University of Edinburgh and the guidelines set down by the British Sociological Association. This PhD research is being funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, though they do not have access to any of the information you provide in the diary or interview.

Do I get anything for taking part?

In addition to helping us answer important questions about how people think about and act towards the environment, all of the households that successfully complete the diary and interview will be entered in to a free prize draw with around a 1-in-20 chance of winning £100 in shopping vouchers for a shop of the winners choice.

Ok, I'm interested. What do I do next?  

Speak to the people you live with and explain that you would like to take part. You can show them the information leaflet we have created for potential participants which you can use to explain what the project is about. You can access this by clicking here. I can come and speak to them if they would like more information before committing. When you have decided you would like to participate, contact me by telephone or email and we will arrange a time to go over what is involved and agree a start date. You will be given full support while you take part in the research, but if you decide for any reason you no longer wish to take part, you can withdraw at any time.

Contact details

Fraser Stewart
Sociology - School of Social & Political Sciences
The University of Edinburgh
Chrystal Macmillan Building - Rm 6.13
15a George Square
Edinburgh EH8 9LD

Telephone: 0131 651 3734
Or keep updated by joining our Facebook Group: 'Understanding Recycling in Scotland'

Need more information?

I am happy to try and answer any questions about the project, however any concerns you have about the research can be directed to my PhD supervisors at the University of Edinburgh: Professor Steve Yearley or Dr Michael Rosie.

The Researcher

fraser2Fraser Stewart is a 3rd Year Doctoral Researcher in the Department of Sociology at the University of Edinburgh, having previously completed a Masters by Research in Social Research at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow and a BA (Hons) Social Science (1st Class) at Napier University in Edinburgh. He has a long standing interest in environmental issues and the relationship between society and nature. Recently this has manifested itself around the issues of wasting and environmental social practices, such as recycling and sustainable consumption.

Further information on Fraser and his research interests can be found by clicking on to his university profile page.