USE methodology

The USE methodology was carefully calibrated to the specific context of the east of Ukraine, as is done in all other countries and regions where SCORE is implemented. The USE process started with a series of consultations with local, regional and national stakeholders.

The USE process cycle.

During these consultations, representatives of the authorities and civil society identified those societal dynamics that are most salient for social cohesion. On the basis of these discussions, a conceptual model for social cohesion in eastern Ukraine was developed.

The indicators in the conceptual model are grouped under the following four desired outcomes for the general population component:
i)    adaptive psychosocial functioning;
ii)    mitigating negative population trends;
iii)    social connectedness and belonging;
iv)    tolerant and socially responsible citizenship.

For the school component the outcomes are:
i)    readiness for active civic participation;
ii)    mitigating negative population trends;
iii)    preventing bullying and victimization;
iv)    reducing internalizing and externalizing problems.

All items in the conceptual model are covered by one or more of the four USE data streams:

General population survey: 5,300 face-to-face interviews with residents of the five oblasts in the east of Ukraine (350 interviews per cluster of raions in Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts (see here a list of raions per clusters)), and 600 interviews per oblast in Zaporizhzhia, Dnipropetrovsk and Kharkiv. USE uses a random sampling methodology for its household surveys. In other words, the sample is geographically stratified to ensure that more urban and populous areas do not dominate the needs and dynamics of rural or less populous areas. The USE sampling ensures that both regional and demographic variance and dynamics are represented in the findings.

Expert scoring interviews: 72 face-to-face in-depth interviews with two local experts in each of the raions in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts.

School survey: 3,300 children aged 13-17 sampled from 48 education facilities in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts (government controlled areas). The selection of schools was stratified (by cluster) and based on a systematic random selection of schools and vocational educational institutions with an over sampling of the later. The questionnaires were self-administered during a class period under the supervision of enumerators. The pupils surveyed were from grades 9, 10 and 11, and from both grades of the vocational schools.

Checkpoint survey: 1,500 face-to-face interviews with commuters from non-government controlled areas at the five checkpoints in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts.

Checkpoint survey fieldwork.
General population survey fieldwork.
Each indicator in the USE conceptual model was measured by at least three questionnaire items in the general population or school surveys, or through a series of in-depth questions in the expert scoring interviews. For example, the indicator migration tendency was measured by asking the respondents in the face-to-face survey to evaluate the following four statements:

- My region is a good place to live and work
- I can make a real difference if I stay here for the long term
- At some point in the future, I hope to leave this place
- My friends often talk about making a better life somewhere else

USE is much more than a perception survey, which is why the results are not reported in the form of percentages. Instead, the results are presented in the form of descriptive and predictive analysis. The descriptive part is illustrated by the heat maps, which show scores from 0 to 10 for each of the USE indicators.
Scores for migration tendency.
The predictive part of USE is illustrated by the path analysis that shows the so-called drivers, which are those indicators that have a strong correlation with each of the outcomes. Drivers may be either positively or negatively correlated to the outcome, meaning that they can either reinforce/strengthen or inhibit/undermine the outcome. The drivers can serve as a guide for what type of activity, policy, program or even issue has a high level of importance in strengthening social cohesion. In other words, the drivers help identify strategic entry points with the likelihood of creating positive impact on the outcome. This provides valuable information for designing programs and policies, strategic resource allocation or even for informing local stakeholders about what issues are of most interest to local citizens.

To understand USE and how it works, one has to think of the heat maps as showing the ‘what’ and the ‘where’.  The drivers explain the ‘why’ and ‘how’. The Compare by demographics groups function on this website will give the answer to ‘who’. Therefore, when one combines the information provided by heat maps, demographics breakdown and the path analysis, it produces a detailed understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of the different aspects of social cohesion in different locations and within different groups throughout the east of Ukraine.
Path analysis illustrating the drivers of political security, which in turn positively impacts on social connectedness and belonging.