Survey of young Scots

AQMeN and the University of Edinburgh were awarded a grant by the ESRC to investigate attitudes about national identity, political interests and attitudes towards independence amon young people (age 16-17) living in Scotland.

Using a survey in both 2013 and 2014, the researchers asked a representative sample of 14-17-year-olds about:

  • their views on Scottish independence and devolution
  • their feelings of Scottish, British and European identities
  • their political interest and engagement
  • their socio-demographic characteristics.

Results from the survey allowed a detailed and objective understanding to be developed of what influences young people’s attitudes towards Scottish independence.

This project was part of the ESRC-funded Future of UK and Scotland Initiative (now the Centre on Constitutional Change). Visit website >

Watch a short a video about the research >


Findings were published as short briefings and as blog posts.
Download 2013 briefing and survey >
Download 2014 briefing and survey >
Read posts on the Future of the UK and Scotland blog >
Read posts on The Conversation >

Findings were also presented at public events
Under 18-year olds’ views on Scottish Independence – New survey evidence. Details >
The Future of Scotland: Attitudes of 14-17 year olds on the Scottish independence referendum. Details >

Training in quantitative analysis

Workshop: 'Doing survey research with young people' Details >
Seminar: 'Asking adolescents: The challenges of survey research on young people' Details >

Teaching materials for secondary schools on 'Understanding Research on Social Attitudes Regarding the Scottish Independence Referendum'

These materials have been developed by researchers conducting research on public attitudes on the Scottish independence referendum to be held in 2014. The updated version includes new exercises using data from 2014. These focus on questions about young people's political engagement and views in a way that is relevant beyond the referendum. The materials are intended for the use by school teachers and are available free of charge. The activities presented in this pack present a great range of possibilities: They include short, specific exercises that could be incorporated in existing lesson plans, but also suggest more comprehensive activities that would allow students to explore some of the issues of interest in greater depth. Request teaching materials >

Policy relevance: 
The substantive findings of the project were of great interest not only to researchers, but also to policy makers and the Scottish public more generally. For the first time, objective, in-depth analysis of the attitudes of young people to Scottish independence, as well as of their political engagement more generally, was made available and disseminated through professional and media channels.
January, 2013 to September, 2014

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