With Ipsos, we carried out in-depth interviews with 30 ‘own-household fathers’ (OHFs). These are fathers who do not live full time with their child.
At age nine months, approximately 20% of UK fathers do not live with their child full time. OHFs are a diverse group, but most (15% of all fathers) are registered on their child’s birth certificate, see their child regularly, and nearly half will be in a relationship with the child’s mother. OHFs are therefore a substantial and important group for recruitment to the study.
Direct recruitment of OHFs has never been done before in a UK birth cohort, so this work aimed to understand the motivations and barriers to participation for these fathers.
The findings supported the choice of birth registrations as a sampling frame to ensure recruitment of OHFs, informed engagement messaging in the materials, the mixed-mode design to encourage fathers to take part and fieldwork protocols for interviewers.
In-depth interviews were also done with 30 mothers and fathers from low-income backgrounds, with a high quota sample of parents from ethnic minority backgrounds. Low-income and ethnic minority families are both boost groups in the sample. It was therefore important to understand the engagement issues for these groups.
Findings from this work informed the study’s approach to inclusive study materials, and offering mode flexibility for time-poor parents and engagement approaches.
An article on this work was published in the Social Research Association’s Social Research Practice journal.