Event | Taking Part User Day

We went to this year’s Taking Part User Day to find out what’s changed and what’s new with the survey…

Three of our agents attended the Taking Part User Day on 20 October 2016. Read below for some of their thoughts on the day.

It was interesting to find out what has changed with the Taking Part Survey now that they’ve got new contractors and have used this time to refresh the sample size and survey itself.

The main discussion points of the day, however, were around the new prototype tools that help access to the information and the concept of this becoming an Open Data source. The tools can be found here.

A variety of tools were demonstrated and then discussed in groups around the room. I was in the discussion about the ‘Taking Part Survey: Most Frequent Responses - Arts (prototype)’ tool which allows you to choose a question in the survey and see the responses ranked for different demographic breakdowns. For example, looking at whether age breakdown changes with the childhood activities that respondents reported to have taken part in.

Unsurprisingly, sport activities are ranked top for all generations. Exploring further, I can see that although library visits are ranked second overall, activity peaks for the 25-64 year olds and is seemingly in decline for the younger generation. A trend that is in reverse for museum and gallery visits. These kinds of insights could be invaluable to policy makers and strategic thinking.

The icons make this particular tool really easy to read and curated filters and depth of detail means you’re not overwhelmed by the range of data on the screen. It was clear from the discussions that these tools are wanted but not necessarily easy to find, which simply highlights the unfortunate restrictions of working on a government site.

The next step will be reading through the newly released short stories covering artforms, diversity and museums and galleries, that will help to really understand how this kind of information is being used.

The data itself is accessible already in some form for non-for profits and academics but the Open Data conversation threw into light the varied nature of the users for such a resource. In conclusion, my discussion group suggested firstly that an API would be essential in maximising the uses. And secondly, that third parties/agencies needed to be consulted to work out the appetite for using this information in new and interesting ways.

Overall, it was incredibly insightful hearing how a variety of arts organisations use Taking Part. When thinking of analysing the data, it became a main point of discussion to try and find a balance between the organisations who have data analysts and the smaller organisations who do not have access to software like SPSS.

The short stories are going to be a great attribute into getting their perspective on certain parts of the Taking Part surveys, and the tools will be a way to understand audiences better, both geographically and demographically.

Alice Hockey Products and Programme Manager / Lorna Wooldridge Research Assistant