Interpreting Results from MTUS

The Multinational Time Use Study (MTUS) is an academic research project which can be used for a variety of purposes. The MTUS was not created to and should not be cited as providing support for any particular political party, commercial enterprise, governmental or non-governmental agency, brand, service or product.

While the MTUS allows cross-time, cross-national analysis, caution must be exercised using this data. Cross-national comparisons must be made with care under the best of circumstances. While there are great similarities between the time use studies harmonised into the MTUS data file, there are also considerable differences in the way that these studies were collected and coded. Consequently, the user of the data should note the following cautions.

Researchers must consider the statistical significance and standard errors of results. Results which are marginally statistically significant and have large standard errors should be treated with extreme caution and are not suited to allow firm conclusions. It is possible in such cases that the results reflect an artefact of differences in the way the data were collected and not an analytically meaningful difference.

No result should be published which has a cell size smaller than 30 diary days (unweighted). While analysis used in publications should be weighted, researchers must check the number of cases unweighted to ensure that the cell sizes are sufficiently large before documents are released for public access.

Details of the methodological differences between the original studies are available in the on-line documentation of the MTUS. These differences should be born in mind when interpreting the data. To facilitate accurate testing of results achieved using MTUS data, researchers should always note the version of the data used in analysis.

Any researcher who uses MTUS data assumes responsibility for the conclusions they draw from results they produce. Researchers should highlight the differences between the original studies in footnotes or endnotes in their publications (including confidential or limited-circulation reports).

Likewise, people who publish documents using tables produced by other researchers also should note the differences between the studies included in the MTUS. People publishing secondary analysis of tables based on MTUS data likewise assume personal responsibility for the conclusions which they draw.

Analysis of MTUS data may produce estimates that differ from the estimates of official statistical agencies. Researchers using the MTUS and people making secondary analysis of tables based on MTUS data also should note in any publication that their conclusions do not represent the official views of time use in any country.

Recommended text for citing data drawn from the MTUS:

This document presents results drawn from the Multinational Time Use Study (MTUS), but the interpretation of this data and other views expressed in this text are those of the author. This text does not necessarily represent the views of the MTUS team or any agency which has contributed data to the MTUS archive. The author bears full responsibility for all errors and omissions in the interpretation of the MTUS data.