Enforcing the smoking ban
The following is a sample Paper 3 that looks at a quasi-experiment which could also be considered a natural experiment. Below you will first find the stimulus piece, followed by the static questions. A copy of the mock paper is included to give students as an in-class assessment.
Potential answers are included in the hidden boxes below.
The following study by Hyland et al (2009) is a quasi-experiment using a longitudinal telephone survey of nationally representative samples of smokers and non-smokers aged 18 years or older in Scotland and the rest of the UK.
The aim of the study was to evaluate how Scotland's smoking ban impacted the lives of the average person in Scotland compared to the rest of the UK, where these laws were not yet in place. The goal was to look at exposure to secondhand smoke, attitudes toward the smoking ban and frequency of going to pubs and restaurants.
The study carried out a telephone survey with a sample of 705 Scottish smokers and 417 non-smokers. In addition, surveys were carried out with 1027 smokers and 447 non-smokers in the rest of the UK where smoking in public places was not regulated at the time. Respondents were recruited by telephone numbers selected at random from the population of each country with the goal of representing all geographic districts.
Respondents were interviewed before the Scottish law (February to March 2006) and 1 year later after the law (March 2007).
The results showed a significant decline in smoking in pubs, restaurants and workplaces compared to the UK. In addition, support for the smoking ban increased to a greater extent in Scotland than in the rest of the UK. Although the self-reported frequency of going to pubs and restaurants was similar in Scotland and the rest of the UK, non-smokers in Scotland showed a significant increase in their frequency of going to pubs. There was no clear difference in smoking cessation observed - although this could be due to the length of the study. One year may not have been enough time to notice such effects of the law.
The researchers concluded that the Scottish smoking ban has been successful in decreasing secondhand smoke exposure while at the same time having no significant negative effect on pubs and restaurants.
1a. Identify the method used and outline two characteristics of the method.
1b. Describe the sampling method used in the study.
1c. Suggest an alternative or additional research method giving one reason for your choice.
2. Describe the ethical considerations that were applied in the study and explain if further ethical considerations could be applied.
3. To what extent could you generalize the findings of this study?