Between Data Collection And Learning – Focus Group Interviews As A Tool For Informing Policy
1University of Helsinki, Finland; 2National Institute of Health and Welfare, Finland
Large scale population level surveys are the standard scientific tool to inform policy decisions. Surveys are however bound to the notion that informants have their answers ready to be collected. This might be less a problem regarding easy, clear-cut and publicly present questions, but becomes problematic for more complicated matters. Inquiries on attitudes, opinions or justifications of gambling regulations is such a matter.
19 Focus groups with altogether 88 Finnish gamblers and non-gamblers have been conducted. Focus group participants took also part in a population survey. During the focus groups gambling commercials and tasks concerning gambling regulations and the Finnish gambling monopoly were used as discussion stimuli.
The focus group discussions showed a considerably higher degree of criticism than the parallel population survey. The focus group participants even actively reflected on their learning process regarding the issues addressed by the tasks and the commercials.
Population surveys on complex subjects need to be triangulated by qualitative studies in order to inform policy decisions properly.
Social Practices in Consumption of Theatre
University of Helsinki, Finland
Consumption of theatre in sociology has often been researched from the taste point of view. In my research, I concentrate on different kinds of social connections concerning the consumption of theatre. The data consists of twelve interviews among Finnish adults concerning their consumption of leisure time and especially theatre. Theatre seems to be involved not only to presenting one’s high cultural taste, but also to diverse social practices. For example, family relations among adults and their parents as well as socializing with friends and actors came up in the interviews. Consumption of theatre, then, should be seen in a wider context of social practices instead of restricting the analysis to social capital and its transferring to the following generation.
A Study on the Importance of Leisure Activity: How to Improve Quality of Leisure
Yonsei University, Korea, Republic of (South Korea)
The purpose of this paper is to argue that it is important to improve the quality of leisure as well as work-leisure balance. While labor and accumulating wealth through it was considered the most important part of life as a form of social 'calling', social and economic development resulted in stable income acquisition and a consumption-oriented society emerged, the use of income has become an important social phenomenon. As a result, leisure, as a way of spending what people get, has gone beyond dictionary meaning and has become a key element in shaping modern life. Thus, simply defining leisure as 'time other than physical and economic activities' now does not fully reflect the social meaning of it. While the importance of leisure is increasing, the fact that it is undervalued relative to its actual value is shown by the following results. First, the world is actively reducing working hours. Second, however, the results of these politic movements are merely increasing the time for leisure physically and therefore showing a flaw that overlooks the quality aspects of leisure life. Third, previous studies have mostly discussed the impact of satisfaction with securing leisure time on job performance or the inequality in leisure due to income inequality. To compensate for this deficiency, I would like to reiterate the importance of leisure in modern life and study what social and personal methods can be taken to improve leisure quality.
Keywords: leisure activity, importance of leisure, quality of leisure, consumption communities