Diagnosis of the Active People Survey online diagnostic tool

Active people

Active People Diagnostic is an interactive online tool that enables you to explore Sport England’s Active People Survey results in detail.

I’ve been aware of this tool for some time, but have recently become more interested in its capabilities since the results of the second Active People Survey were added – meaning the tool now allows for comparison between the results of Active People 1 (2005/06) and Active People 2 (2007/08).

For those of you not entirely familiar with the survey, Active People ascertains British people’s levels of participation in sport and active recreation. The survey has been conducted twice – in 2005/06 and 2007/08.

The sample size is such (191,000 for the 2007/08 survey) that the results are statistically robust for smaller (local authority) geographies. So much so, in fact, that local authorities rely on the survey to measure progress against National Indicator 8 (NI 8), the government target for local participation in sport and active recreation.

hiking-catbells-pic_LAAlthough the general look and feel of the tool is a little dated, and the functions glitchy, if you persevere you can generate some fairly useful cross-tabulations.

For example, using the ‘comparative analysis’ function, I was able to view ‘participation in walking’ by respondent ethnic background for all six West Midlands-based County Sports Partnerships.

A potentially useful function also worth exploring is the tool’s capability for running ‘nearest neighbour’ analyses.

By selecting the ‘IMD Nearest Neighbour’ filter you can compare areas with similar Indices of Multiple Deprivation (IMD) scores from across the country. In other words, you can compare areas with similar social and economic characteristics.

For example, the nearest IMD neighbour for Birmingham is Middlesbrough. For Coventry, the nearest IMD neighbour is Norwich, and so on. All really interesting stuff – particularly for the trivia fans amongst us!

Frustratingly though, the tool does have its limits.

I was unable to generate detailed ethnic group results at the first time of trying because you can only use a maximum of four ethnic groups when running a query.

The same can be said for generating results for county councils and local authorities. There are too many for the tool to cope with in one go.

Perhaps even more discouraging, I was unable to view these results for both surveys at once.

Overall, I was certainly left with an impression of a tool that promises much but delivers less, but this may be more to do with my unfamiliarity with the tool rather than anything else.

Have you tried the Active People Diagnostic tool? If so, I’d be interested to know how you got on. If not, why not try it and see what you think of it?

Please add your thoughts in the comments below. Alternatively, feel free to contact me directly (lauren.amery@artscouncil.org.uk / 0121 631 5705).

Photo by tricky

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