Citizenship identity methods of research

Citizenship identity methods of research

Bondarevskaya I. (May, 2017) Citizenship identity methods of research. Proceedings of the 5th international scientific and practical seminar: Political and economic self-constitution: Citizenship identity and education, Corinth, Greece. – 8 – 11. 


Introduction. The importance of citizenship identity development is undoubtable in current social and political context. Relatively stable and developed citizenship identity among the majority of population can be considered as an element of state security being in line with patriotism. In Ukraine undeveloped Ukrainian citizenship identity among population of Crimea was one of the reasons for its annexation by the Russian Federation what vividly illustrates consequences of absence of proper politics in citizenship identity development.

Ethnic grounds of citizenship identity proof to become less important compared to shared citizenship values among people living in the same state especially in condition of war and military change of borders. Another reason undermining ethnic grounds of citizenship identity is migration of representatives of different ethnic groups due to political, social, economic, military reasons.

Citizenship identity is considered to be a type of social identity co-existing in the system of social identities with others, for example, ethnic, gender, professional identities. Development of citizenship identity requires its measuring in order to understand if there are any changes. Such a complicated structure as citizenship identity needs to be divided into components to be measured. A corresponding model of citizenship identity reflecting its structure was developed (Bondarevskaya, 2016).

The proposed model of citizenship identity is shown on Figure 1. It consists meaning content, citizenship activity in which it is revealed and behavior in concrete situation of interaction. Meaning content includes system of citizenship values and citizenship attitudes, while citizenship values lie in the center (the most stable component), citizenship attitudes (more apt to changes) lie in the layer next to the center. Third layer, citizenship activity, is even more apt to changes than the previous ones. The outer layer, behaviour in concrete situation, is the most apt for changes.

Figure 1. Citizenship identity model.


Objective of this article is to propose methods to study each component in the structure of citizenship identity: citizenship values, citizenship attitudes, citizenship activity and behavior in concrete situation of interaction.

Results. For each component of citizenship identity a corresponding method of research is offered. At present existing methods previously developed for other psychological purposes do not fully suit requirements of citizenship identity measurement though later on other more specific methods can be elaborated on their basis.

Among methods for empirical research we would like to offer the following: Schwartz Value Inventory, open-end statements, Colour Test of Attitudes (Bazhyn, Etkind, 1985), Citizenship Behavior Questionnaire (Zalewska & Krzywosz-Rynkiewicz, 2011), experiments.

Schwartz Value Inventory (Schwartz, 1992) can largely reveal and reflect citizenship values though definitely not fully as genuinely it was elaborated for other purposes. In Schwartz Value Inventory values are studied on the level of culture and on the level of individual containing 30 and 27 items correspondingly. Answers range from -1 to 7 where -1 means ‘opposed to my values’, 1,2 – ‘unlabeled’, 3 – ‘important’, 4,5 – ‘unlabeled’, 6 – ‘very important’, 7 – ‘of supreme importance’. This method was used in 82 countries. Schwartz (1992) describes 10 types of values: Power, Achievement, Hedonism, Stimulation, Self-Direction, Universalism, Benevolence, Tradition, Conformity and Security.

Open-ended statements give variety in replies revealing cognitive component of attitudes. An example of an open-ended statement can be: “Current reforms of juridical system lead to …”. Such open-ended statements can be used to reveal meanings and are especially valuable on the first stage of research. Later on they can be replaced by a 5-grade scale measurement.

One of possible options to measure attitudes is to ask respondents to react to a statement reflecting an attitude by a 5-grade Likert’s scale (1932) where 1 means ‘strongly agree’, 2 – ‘agree’, 3 – ‘undecided’, 4 – ‘disagree’, 5 – strongly disagree’. The reverse order where 1 means ‘strongly disagree’ is also possible.

Especially interesting is to measure affective components of attitudes. Quite often cognitive components are more neutral and much less negative than affective. One of the reasons for that is that respondents can give socially desirable replies. A method developed in 1980s in Leningrad Scientific Research Psycho-Neurological Institute named after V. M. Behterev can reveal affective components of such attitudes. This method is called “Colour test of attitude” based on 8-colour M. Lüscher Test (Bazhyn, Etkind, 1985).

A subject is asked to range colours according to personal preference from the most pleasant to the most unpleasant. Then he/she is asked to associate a notion (outgroup member) with a definite colour. Several notions can be proposed at once and colours can be repeated. Valence, normativity and program of behavior are revealed by this method.

Valence is defined the following way: association with the1st, 2nd, 3rd place of colour in personal preference range means emotional acceptance, 4th, 5th – emotionally neutral attitude, 6th, 7th, and 8th – emotional rejection.

Normativity of notion is defined by comparing the chosen association colour with normative sequence of colours which is the following: “34251607” where 1 – blue, 2 – green, 3 – red, 4 – yellow, 5 – violate, 6 – brown, 7 – black, 0 – grey. As in case with valence, the1st, 2nd, 3rd place of colour in normative sequence means acceptance of the notion as a social stimulus, 4th, 5th – neutral attitude, 6th, 7th, and 8th – rejection as a social stimulus.

Program of behavior is determined referring associated colour to the personal preference range: the 1st, 2nd position are connected to future behavior program, 3rd, 4th – present, 5th, 6th – potential, 7th, 8th – rejected behavior program.

Citizenship Behavior Questionnaire (Zalewska & Krzywosz-Rynkiewicz, 2011) measures active, semi-active and passive citizenship behavior among school pupils aged 11 – 17 years old. It contains 34 items measured by 4-grade scale, where 1 means ‘definitely not’, 2 – ‘rather not’, 3 – ‘rather yes’, 4 – ‘definitely yes’. Each of three scales contains subscales: active citizenship behavior – political activity, action for change, social activity, personal activity, semi-active citizenship behavior – loyalty, voting, public good and honest work, passive citizenship – national identity and patriotism. Nowadays version of the questionnaire for adult people is not available unfortunately.

Taken together these methods can help to research components of citizenship identity, though their coherence needs to be elaborated.


Conclusions. It could be especially interesting to compare results in multiethnic societies with different levels of economic prosperity, different levels of interethnic tension, and peculiarities of political trust as well as taking into consideration different military situation and other threats which many states encounter at present.