FSD Bulletin

Issue 25 (3/2008)
1.12.2008

ISSN 1795-5262

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FSD Bulletin is the electronic newsletter of the Finnish Social Science Data Archive. The Bulletin provides information and news related to the data archive and social science research.


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Finnish Social Science Data Archive
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E-mail: fsd@uta.fi


School Well-being Profile

Comparative Study for Investigating Change

Päivi Vännilä

Senior assistant Anne Konu from the Department of Health Education at the University of Tampere has compiled a school well-being profile. The data have been collected in Finnish schools during four semesters starting from 2004. She has deposited the earliest data at the FSD in order to be archived and disseminated.

- Among other things, the FSD will take care of converting the dataset into a universal format, which ensures that the data continue to be accessible to researchers also in the future. I do not have to convert a website into a manageable format with a spreadsheet anymore. In addition, any future cooperation will happen between the data archive and the re-user, Anne Konu describes her motives for depositing the data at the archive.

Anne Konu is a first-timer when it comes to depositing data. She does not know yet who will be using the well-being profiles after they have been archived. Before the archiving, the users of the data have been Finnish graduate students and thesis writers.

Anne Konu, senior assistant at the Department of Health Education at the University of Tampere.

The school well-being profile originates from Konu's doctoral dissertation. The project's aim has been to provide schools with a practical tool that could be used in evaluating the well-being of the students and personnel. International articles have been written on the basis of the data.

Scientific benefit from diverse use

Anne Konu considers the widest possible use of the well-being data to be a scientific benefit.

The quantitative data contain two open-ended questions. The open-ended questions are not publicly available, because some schools could be identified based on them. The number of respondents is about 12,000 each year.

It is possible that new viewpoints - limited or wide-ranging - will emerge from the data, depending on the research questions. Through a new background theory, numerous new perspectives, others than the ones already used, may arise from the data.

For researching social relationships

- I myself have been examining the entirety. But there are also numerous research possibilities that can be perceived by closely examining various sections in the study. A re-user of the data can, for instance, concentrate on social relationships or on the means of self-fulfillment. It is possible to use the dataset as part of a study, or as an aid to carry out an intervention or to investigate change, Konu describes.

The data have been gathered from the responses of students in different schools and at different stages of education. In addition, the responses of school personnel, especially the teachers, have been included in the survey. The results from a single school can be used by the school itself and they can also be compared to the total result. The survey has been conducted as an online survey in a way that the data may be reused for new research purposes without the possibility of a single school being identified. In this case, the researcher uses the entire data.

- Schools may gather the well-being profile for instance annually or bi-annually. An additional useful feature in the data would be to be able to search the results according to the city or county, Anne Konu says.

 

 

School Well-being Profile Survey Series

In this survey series, well-being at schools is under observation. The respondents belong to four target groups: primary schools (grades 4-6), lower secondary schools (grades 7-9), upper secondary institutes, and personnel. The data are collected during each school year, and schools can independently decide in what time of the year they respond to the survey. The first datasets archived at the FSD are from the school year 2004-2005.

The School Well-being Profile is based on Anne Konu's doctoral dissertation, in which well-being at school is divided into four categories: school conditions, social relationships in school, means for self-fulfilment in school, and health status. The data are collected through an Internet survey on the web page of the Finnish National Board of Education.