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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Work: effect on number and duration of activities per day Bull, Christopher Neil


In two studies in the 1930's statistics were generated to show how people spent their time during a twenty-four hour period. These statistics provided information on the number of activities, the duration of such activities, and the people with whom these activities took place. The method of data collection was a diary or log of activities covering a day, which was filled out by the respondent, either during the day, or from his memory of his activities of yesterday. With the lack of any theoretical schema with which to approach the problem of how people spent their time, the present research was completed to put forward a theoretical model, the assumptions of which could be verified with the data we had collected. The data consisted of the Time-Records of 308 respondents interviewed during the summer of 1965 in an industrial community of twenty thousand. It was suggested that persons who have in common certain social characteristics will also report a similar number of activities during a day. The characteristics looked at were work shift, work status, family size, and the company size in which people work. It was also proposed that the greater the number of activities reported in a day the less the variance of the time spent on such activities. We were able, therefore, to test five hypotheses on our data having explained our reservations of the restrictions put on the data by the Time-Record method of data collection. Our results show that persons who work at an "off-phase" time report a greater number of activities during a day than do persons who work a normal day. The effect of work status on the number of activities does not appear to be significant. With respect to family size no significant difference was found but there was a substantial drop in the number of activities reported by families of three or four persons. We also found that the persons who work for the largest company in the community report a greater number of activities than do persons who do not work for that company. With respect to the variance of the time spent on activities, we found in three different cases that the greater the number of activities reported in a day the less the variance of time spent on those activities. Our hypotheses derived from our theoretical schema allowed us to make certain predictions concerning the number of activities reported in a day. The findings outlined above were found to refute our predictions in that the significant differences were in the direction opposite to that of our predictions. It was therefore possible, because we had a theoretical schema, to go back to our assumptions and find out where we had gone wrong. In changing our assumptions we will now have a greater predictive power in our theory. The changes were based on further workings with the data, especially with the information we had on the persons with whom an activity was carried out. It appeared that an assumption was incorrect. The assumption stated that activities which required a number of persons to be present would be of a shorter duration than those activities not requiring the presence of others.

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