Understanding Why Time Variables are Bundled

We are often asked why our time-variable items are bundled together. The bundled items are:

  • Watch TV
  • Read Books for fun
  • Work part-time (secondary)
  • Using ICT
  • Volunteer (secondary)
  • Using Phone
  • Homework time
  • Physical Activity - intense
  • Physical Activity - moderate

Why can we not separate these items?

These items have been combined so that we can get an accurate sense of how students are spending their time after school, and attempt to account for all the various activities they may pursue. Focusing on one or two specific items may result in a large portion of time-spent being unaccounted for.

Also, the results are normalized into a 7 hour day to reflect the number of hours typically available after school in which students are likely participating in these activities. Prior to the implementation of the normalisation procedure, it was common for students to indicate that they had completed 20 or 30 hours of activity after school when items were reported on separately.

To learn more on these measures, why they are important and how they are used, we recommend further reading on 'Time Variables' in addition to survey 'Measure Briefing Notes'.