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FSD3108 Political Trust among Upper Secondary Students in Tampere 2016

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Authors

  • Aarnio, Anna-Riikka (University of Tampere. School of Management)
  • Ala-Lahti, Henri (University of Tampere. School of Management)
  • Elonen, Eeva-Kaisa (University of Tampere. School of Management)
  • Hakanpää, Lotta (University of Tampere. School of Management)
  • Ilkka, Sakari (University of Tampere. School of Management)
  • Järvenreuna, Vera (University of Tampere. School of Management)
  • Kantola, Petra (University of Tampere. School of Management)
  • Lehtinen, Sanni (University of Tampere. School of Management)
  • Tiihonen, Laura (University of Tampere. School of Management)
  • Bäck, Maria (University of Tampere. School of Management)
  • Kestilä-Kekkonen, Elina (University of Tampere. School of Management)
  • Sipinen, Josefina (University of Tampere. School of Management)
  • Tiihonen, Aino (University of Tampere. School of Management)

Keywords

family influence, political attitudes, political awareness, political behaviour, political interest, political participation, students, trust, trust in government, upper secondary schools, values

Abstract

The data were collected as part of a project conducted by university students during an advanced studies course in political science. The survey charted political trust, political knowledge and interest, and political participation of upper secondary students in the Tampere area.

First, the respondents interest in politics was surveyed as well as their perceptions on their political knowledge, frequency of discussing politics and social issues in different contexts, and frequency of following news and politics in the media. Satisfaction with the Finnish education system, democracy in Finland, and the performance of the Finnish Government was examined as well as trust in various institutions (e.g. political parties, parliament, politicians, the European Union, the police, universities and research institutes) and trust in Prime Minister Juha Sipilä, Minister of Finance Alexander Stubb, and Minister for Foreign Affairs Timo Soini. Views on the decisions made by the Finnish government and prevalence of corruption among decision-makers were investigated.

A number of statements relating to decision-making and ways to influence it were presented (e.g. "Citizens must influence the direction of politics primarily by voting in elections"). Perceptions were surveyed on the state of the Finnish economy, own and parents' placement on the left-right scale, own and parents' party identification, effects of parents' political views on own political opinions, and prevalence of civic issues at school.

The respondents' values were investigated by asking the extent to which they agreed with a number of statements concerning, for instance, multiculturalism, same-sex marriage, use of fossil fuels, abortion, and sentences for violent crime. Social engagement, volunteering, and interpersonal trust were examined as well as different forms of political/civic participation the respondents had done or thought they could do. The respondents were asked whether there was someone they could talk to about their personal matters and how happy they felt. Finally, the respondents were asked questions that charted their factual knowledge of politics.

Background variables included, among others, the respondent's year of birth, gender, mother tongue, type of school (general or vocational), year of study, future plans relating to education and employment, religiosity, household composition, and grade average of the lower secondary school leaving certificate as well as parents' education levels and the self-perceived financial circumstances of the family.

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