Methodological reflection and design of a survey instrument to climate awareness and climate-relevant behaviour of the Viennese youth

A study commissioned by the Cultural Department of the City of Vienna (MA7); project duration: Dec 2013 – Jun 2014

Project management and implementation: Mag. Elisabeth Sophie Mayrhuber (ÖIN)

Without controversy, young people will be most affected by the dramatic ecological, social and economic impacts of climate change (cf. IPCC 2014). This target group is heterogeneous in terms of the environmental awareness and the climate-relevant behaviour. Therefore, effective communication formats must consider specific preferences and dimensions of consciousness.

The study was guided by the following research questions:

  • How are dimensions of climate awareness and climate-related behaviour of young people collected in selected questionnaires?
  • Which methodological and methodical problems may occur when analysing climate awareness and climate-relevant behaviour?
  • What results can be seen in terms of readability and understanding during the evaluating of the pre-test?

In this study it was discussed how these dimensions were identified in previous studies and excerpts from different questionnaires were exemplified. Then fundamental considerations regarding methodological and methodical difficulties in behavioural studies were carried out. The methodological reflection allowed a direct contrast of question formulations on a meta-level, which was supportive for the design of the survey instrument. To improve the quality of the designed questionnaire, it was tested at 72 adolescents. At the time of the survey they were completing their education at the company Kapsch and were 15 to 22 years old. The collected data was analysed, in which case the focus was placed on documenting the resulting difficulties with the questionnaire and on recording suggestions for possible adaptations.

Mayrhuber, Elisabeth Sophie (2014). Methodische Reflexion und Konzeption eines Erhebungsinstruments zu Klimabewusstsein und klimarelevantem Verhalten von Wiener Jugendlichen. Final Report. Vienna: Austrian Institute for Sustainable Development.