FSD2958 Citizen Deliberation on Immigration: Survey Data 2012

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deliberation, democracy, immigration, immigration policy, political action, political attitudes, public opinion


The data contain the responses to five surveys conducted in connection with citizen forum organised by the Social Science Research Institute at Åbo Akademi University and funded by the Academy of Finland. The Deliberation across enclaves was an experiment on democratic deliberation, which culminated in two deliberation days organised in Turku, Finland. The aim of the research project was to study the impact of deliberation on the participants' attitudes, especially in relation to immigration.

Based on the first survey, the respondents were divided into groups, or enclaves, of people who had either positive or negative attitudes towards immigration. In the deliberation event, some participants were in groups with others of the same opinion, while some were in groups with both opinions. The aim was to compare the changes in opinions depending on group composition. Because of the research setting, the participants did not receive information about the differing composition of the groups during deliberation, but were told about the premiss, implementation, and preliminary results of the study in a debriefing event after the deliberation.

On the first collection round (questionnaire A), the respondents were asked their opinions on immigration and presented with statements relating to immigration (e.g. "It is beneficial for the Finnish economy that people move here from other countries").

The second collection round (questionnaire B) charted interest and participation in political discussions, satisfaction with Finnish immigration policy, views on politics and democracy, civic engangement, and trust in various institutions, people in general and different ethnic groups. The respondents were asked the extent to which they agreed with several statements about immigration and discussion about it, Finnish policies of accepting people from abroad, and Finland's involvement in world politics. Significance of various features and skills in determining whether a person can be considered a Finn was charted (e.g. "Is able to speak Finnish").

On the third round (questionnaire C), factual knowledge was investigated about Finnish immigration policy, immigration in Finland, and Finnish parliament and government. Questions examined knowledge about, among others, the size of the refugee quota, unemployment rate among immigrants, percentage of foreign nationals living Finland convicted of a crime in 2010, and name of the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Most of the questions from the previous rounds were repeated on the fourth round (questionnaire D) in order to study changes in respondent opinions and knowledge. Additionally, a number of statements relating to the group discussions were asked at this point. These questions charted, for instance, whether the respondents felt their opinions on immigration had changed as a result of the discussion, whether their opinions had become more certain, and what their reasons for participating in the discussion were. The final round (questionnaire E) studied the changes in respondent opinions and knowledge by repeating previously asked questions for the second or third time.

Background variables included, among others, the respondent's year of birth, gender, education, marital status, economic activity and occupational status, identification with a political party, membership in organisation or association, religiosity and membership in a religious community as well as annual gross income of the household and number of people in the household.

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