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Resources for International Comparative Analysis: The European Social Survey. Caroline Roberts*, Gillian Eva*, Atle Jåstad ~ *Centre for Comparative Social Surveys City University, London ~ NSD, Norway. ESRC Research Methods Festival, St Catherine\'s College, Oxford, 02 July 2008.

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Resources for International Comparative Analysis:

The European Social Survey

Caroline Roberts*,

Gillian Eva*,

Atle Jåstad~

*Centre for Comparative Social Surveys

City University, London

~NSD, Norway

ESRC Research Methods Festival, St Catherine\'s College, Oxford, 02 July 2008

about the ess
About the ESS
  • Cross-national biennial time-series
  • Academically-driven
  • Multiple funding sources
  • 18,300 registered data users
three main aims
Three main aims:
  • To produce rigorous trend data about changing social values across Europe
  • To improve the reliability of quantitative cross-national measurement in Europe
  • To advance the cause of social indicators and attitudinal measures
the questionnaire
The Questionnaire

Core question topics:

Trust in institutions

Political engagement

Socio-political values

Multi-level governance

Moral & social values

Social exclusion

National, ethnic, religious identity

Well-being, health, security

rotating modules
Rotating Modules
  • Round 1


Citizenship, engagement and democracy

  • Round 2

Family, work and well-being

Economic morality

Health and care-seeking

  • Round 3

Timing of the life course

Subjective well-being

  • Round 4

Experiences and expressions of ageism

Welfare attitudes in Europe

methodological advances
Methodological Advances
  • Organisational structure
  • Translation
  • Sampling
  • Fieldwork procedures and timing
  • Response targets and enhancements
  • Progress monitoring
  • Contextual and event data
  • Methodological research
  • Transparency
  • Access for all
ess resources
ESS Resources

For background information & documentation:

  • ESS home website:

For ESS data:

  • ESS Data Archive website:

For training in data analysis:

  • ESS EduNet

ess data archive
ESS Data Archive
  • Free & immediate access; quick registration
  • Data & documentation organised by round
    • Survey documentation: including information about sampling, weighting and population statistics
    • Fieldwork documents: questionnaires; showcards, etc.
    • Fieldwork summary: response rates, fieldwork dates, sample size, and national deviations
    • Data download: integrated & country files
    • Contextual data & indices: including macro & event data
  • Cumulative data file now available for rounds 1-3
  • Online-browsing & analysis using ‘Nesstar Webview’
  • ESS Bibliography
  • ESS ‘EduNet’

Other resources: NESSTAR


  • Online browsing and analysis
  • For use with the full ESS datasets or the specially prepared ESS EduNet data
  • Options:

1. Description: of study, datafile, variables, etc.

2. Table: create frequency tables and crosstabs

3. Analysis: perform regression analysis

other resources ess bibliography
Other resources: ESS Bibliography

ESS Bibliography

  • Provides information about publications based on the European Social Survey
  • Can search by author, keyword, year, country, publication type…
  • Authors submit information about their own publication

Other resources: ESS EduNet

  • Internet-based analysis training programme aimed at facilitating and enriching access to empirical data in the social sciences
  • The resource is developed for use in higher education
  • A hands on introduction to social science data analysis
  • Combining theory, data and methodology
  • Connect text (written by distinguished researchers) with data (high quality ESS data)


Social and Political Trust (using ESS round 1 data): Ken Newton 2 theories of the origin of social trust, outlines the relationship between political and social trustHuman Values (using ESS round 1 data): Shalom Schwartz Schwartz’s theory on human values, shows how values can be used as both dependent and independent variablesRegression (using ESS round 2 data): Odd Gåsdal ‘Hands on’ introduction to analysing cross-sectional survey data using linear regression methodsFamily, Gender and Work (using ESS round 2 data): Noah Lewin-Epstein and Haya Stier Different ways in which survey data are used in comparative research, uses these to examine the family-work connection


Topics: chapter navigation

  • Each topic is divided into several chapters
  • Each chapter is again divided into several short pages
  • Each chapter contains exercises of varying degrees of difficulty
  • Chapters take around 1 hour to complete



Statistical Data

  • Extracts from the ESS rounds 1 and 2 and a data set with country level information
  • Available for online analysis in Nesstar WebView (with correlation)
  • Or to download in different formats

Methodological glossary

  • Short description of some key concepts. Each concept is followed by a link to Wikipedia and an online statistical textbook
other resources
Other resources


  • Short description of the ESS project and ESS EduNet

User guide

  • Help pages on technical requirements, NSDstat, weighting, etc.
  • An introduction on how to analyse data online - a useful starting point for those with no experience in statistical analysis
advantages of ess edunet
Advantages of ESS EduNet

Closeness to data

Easy to use

Research practice