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You have been commissioned to undertake research into attitudes toward the Good Friday Agreement in Northern Ireland.

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RESEARCH METHODS Name: Sarah-lee Thompson Student Number: 13102102 Course: LLB / BA Hons Law and Government Module Title: Research Methods Module Code: PUP313J2 Date: 23rd April 2004 You have been commissioned to undertake research into attitudes toward the Good Friday Agreement in Northern Ireland. Using data from the 2001 Northern Ireland Life and Times Survey assess the degree of support among the population at large and how this varies by religious / community background, income, age and education. In 1998 the Northern Ireland Life and Times survey was set up by Queens University of Belfast and Ulster University in order to record the attitudes, values, and beliefs of the Northern Irish public on issues of social policy including education, crime, politics, work, health, housing, family, religion etc. It is a derived from the Northern Ireland Social Attitudes Survey, which ran from 1989 to 1996, which was a sister survey to the British Social Attitudes Survey. The survey is designed in a modular format with two main modules - political attitudes and community relations being repeated every year, while the other modules vary year to year but being repeated at some point (http://www.data-archive.ac.uk). The 2001 survey was conducted between October and December 2001 and involved 1800 face-to-face interviews, conducted in the respondents homes, allowing for more open and honest answers, with adults aged 18 or over. Interviews tend to be a form of qualitative research as they allow respondents to expand on their answers. However the interviews that were carried out for this survey consist of closed, set answer responses e.g. ...read more.


The majority of Protestants also voted yes to the agreement but less than Catholics with 56.2% and 27.7% voting no. This shows that those with the highest degree of support for the agreement were from the Catholic religion. This may be because terms of the agreement included a plan for devolved government in Northern Ireland and most people from Protestant backgrounds or communities tend to want to remain part of the United Kingdom and be ruled by the British government. In a similar sense most people form Catholic communities support a North and South Ministerial Council and preferably a United Ireland. The agreement also set to provide more opportunities for Catholics that they previously would not have had e.g. equal opportunities in the police. Those from no religious faith may feel that the agreement was more about religion and community background rather than politics. Also that, due to the mentality of the people of Northern Ireland, your politics follows where your religion lies and those from no religious denomination don't care where or how the country is governed as it won't make a difference to their lives as they do not have the same degree of passion and pride in the merge of religion, nationality and politics that the majority of Northern Irish people have. However the other half of those from no religious faith voted yes which means that those who do want to get involved in politics support the agreement. ...read more.


In similar terms everyone that thinks relations will improve over the next five years, regardless of how they feel the relationship has developed during the last five years, said that they would vote on a referendum. This is also the case with the opinion that the relationship has stayed the same in the last five years, with everyone stating they would vote yes in a new referendum. 68.2% of respondents stated that relations have improved over the last five years and will continue to improve. (Table 14) These results suggest that those that feel relations will not improve over the next five years do not feel the referendum will do anything to change this and there is therefore no point in voting yes. Those that feel the relationship between the two communities will improve will vote yes in a future referendum and this may be because they think that the referendum is what will aid the improvement. The results of the survey indicate that religious belief and community background do influence how a person did vote and how they would vote in the future. The numbers tended to stay the same in relation to future voting and although there where some decreases, which indicates loss of faith in the agreement and a feeling that it didn't do anything to benefit the country, the results still show that the majority of the country would vote and vote yes and that the country will improve. ...read more.

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