The International Social Survey Programme – a Resource for Comparative Analyses

Monday, 16 July 2018: 11:36
Oral Presentation
Christof WOLF, GESIS Leibniz-Institute for the Social Sciences, Germany
The International Social Survey Programme (ISSP) was founded in 1984. Initially it was conducted in four countries while today the ISSP has around 50 member countries from six continents. Since 1985 the ISSP has run a comparative survey every year and has collected data from more than one million respondents.

The ISSP can be a resource for comparative analyses at least from two different points of view. First, ISSP surveys cover pertinent social topics stimulating research around like Citizenship (fielded in 2004/ 2014), Environment (1993/ 2000/ 2010), Family and Changing Gender Roles (1988/ 1994/ 2002/ 2012), Health and Health Care (2011), Leisure Time and Sports (2007), National Identity (1995/ 2003/ 2013), Religion (1991/ 1998/ 2008/ 2018), Role of Government (1985/ 1990/ 1996/ 2006/ 2016), Social Inequality (1987/ 1992/ 1999/ 2009/ 2019), Social Networks (1986/ 2001/ 2017) and Work Orientations (1989/ 1997/ 2005/ 2015). As can be seen from this list, ISSP is not only comparative across countries but also follows a longitudinal design thus the data can be used for cross-national as well as for analyses of social change. These data are easy to find, they are well documented and available free of charge.

However, the ISSP can also be resource for comparative research in another form: The ISSP has developed a set of rules and procedures that allow it to achieve a high level of cross-national relevance and comparability. Rules for questionnaire development, for translation, for documentation have been developed to ensure high quality of the process and results while at the same time formally involving every member country to the same degree (one country, one vote). These rules will be described in more detail and it will be demonstrated that they may serve as best practice for other comparative projects.