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Comparative Methods in Social Sciences, I V. Kazimierz M. Slomczynski Irina T omescu-Dubrow. Survey research in social sciences.  (a) Definition Key words: sampling and questionnaire Modes of questioning :

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Comparative methods in social sciences i v

Comparative Methods in Social Sciences, IV

Kazimierz M. Slomczynski

Irina Tomescu-Dubrow

Survey research in social sciences
Survey research in social sciences

 (a) Definition

Key words: sampling and questionnaire

Modes of questioning:

  • face-to-face, FTF (use of laptop computers, CAPI (Computer Assisted Personal Interviewing)

  • telephone interviewing, CATI - Computer-Assisted Telephones Interviewing (Japanese experience with Fax machines)

    - mail questionnaires, MQ

    - internet contacts, ICI

Ideal strategy for survey research
Ideal strategy for survey research

- a representative sample

- face-to-face interviewing.

Cost of surveys.

B history
(b) History

Literary Digest, 1916 - predicting Woodrow Wilson’s election as president.

In 1936 the Digest, on the basis of 2.3 million “votes” from its readers reported that Alf Landon was far more popular than Franklin D. Roosevelt.

The 1930s and George Gallup. His success in correctly predicting Roosevelt’s victory.

C academic vs non academic surveys
(c) Academic vs. non-academic surveys

  • Statistical-offices surveys

    (eg., Current PopulationSurvey, CPS; Labor Force Survey, LFS)

  • Marketing surveys

    (eg., in segmentation research to determine the demographic, psychographic, and behavioural characteristics of potential buyers)

  • Political opinion polls

    (eg., TV stations & newspapers organize polls, or use specialized firms, to conduct public opinion research)

History of cross cultural survey research
History of cross-cultural survey research

Professionalization of survey research since the 1930s.

Hadley Cantril’s study(1948-1949) (William Buchanan and Hadley Cantril, How Nations See Each Other, 1953).

Six West European countries (Britain, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway), plus Australia, Mexico, and United States

 Classical study Almond and Verba (Gabriel A. Almond and Sidney Verba, The Civic Culture, 1963).

US, West Germany, United Kingdom, Italy, and Mexico

Information on cross national surveys
Information on cross-national surveys

  • Index to International Public Opinion. Annual. 1978/79 - present. New York: Greenwood Press. Includes data from single-nation surveys by subject, multinational surveys by region, and world surveys by subject. Up to date.

  • World Opinion Update: A Monthly Summary of Opinion on Issues of International Importance. 1977- present.

    Williamstown, MA: Survey Research Consultants International. Monthly issues average about 10-12 pages and include selected questions, responses, and source information. Up to date.

Main cross national surveys
Main cross-national surveys

European Social Survey

International Social Survey Program

World Value Survey


Eurobarometer and its extensions

European social survey ess

Cross-sectional and cross-national survey project with individuals as the units of analysis.

ESS counts in “Rounds:”

Round 1 data: collected in 2002; publicly released in 2003;

Round 2 data: collected in 2004; publicly released in 2005;

Round 3 data: collected in 2006; publicly released in 2007;

Round 4 data: collected in 2008; publicly released in 2009.

The main survey instrument consists of two modules: Core and Rotating

International social survey program issp

Founded in 1984 as a platform for close collaboration btw. 4 existing surveys:

- the General Social Survey (GSS, USA), the Allgemeine Bevölkerungsumfrage der Sozialwissenschaften (ALLBUS, Germany), the British Social Attitudes Survey (BSA, GB), and the National Social Science Survey (NSSS, Australia).

In 1987-1988: 8 participating countries

1990: 11 countries

1992: 18countries

1994: 23 countries

1998: 32 countriess.

As of 2009, 46 member countries .

World values surveys wvs and european values surveys

1981-1984 wave

1989-1993 wave

1994-1999 wave

1999-2004 wave

2005-2008 wave

Principal investigator:  Ronald Inglehart

Over 60 countries participated in the 1995-1997 study. More countries in later years

Data archives
Data Archives

Two general organizations

  • 1. The International Federation of Data Organizations for the Social Sciences, IFDOSS

  • 2. Council of European Social Science Data Archives

  • Main data archives:

    ICPSR, the UK Data Archive at the University of Essex, and the German Data Archive in Koln (Cologne) - GESIS, Polish ADS