ESSNethEuropean Social Survey in the Netherlands


Prof.dr. Aart Liefbroer
Lange Houtstraat 19, 2511 CV Den Haag

The European Social Survey (ESS) is an academically driven cross-national survey that has been conducted across Europe since its establishment in 2001. Since then, the ESS has measured changes in social attitudes and behaviors in more than 30 countries. Using cutting-edge approaches to comparative research and training of researchers, it produces biennial data of pan-European relevance. In 2020, a tenth wave of data will be collected across Europe.
The Netherlands has been involved in the ESS since its inception. Apart from being one of the countries that participated in all waves of the ESS, it also plays a major role in its international development. The Netherlands Institute for Social Research (SCP) is one of the members of the Core Scientific Team of ESS. The ESS has established itself as an indispensable infrastructure for comparative social and political research, being awarded European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ERIC) status in 2013.

The European Social Survey (ESS) is an academically driven cross-national survey that has been conducted every two years across Europe since 2002. Currently, the tenth round, to be fielded in the fall of 2020 is in preparation.
The ESS measures attitudes, beliefs and behavioral patterns of the general population in more than thirty countries. The main aims of the ESS are:
• to chart stability and change in social structure, conditions and attitudes in Europe and to interpret how Europe’s social, political and moral fabric is changing;
• to achieve and spread higher standards of rigor in cross-national research in the social sciences, including for example, questionnaire design and pre-testing, sampling, data collection, reduction of bias and the reliability of questions;
• to introduce soundly-based indicators of national progress, based on citizens’ perceptions and judgements of key aspects of their societies;
• to undertake and facilitate the training of European social researchers in comparative quantitative measurement and analysis;
• to improve the visibility and outreach of data on social change among academics, policy makers and the wider public.
The ESS data collection procedure is centrally organized and coordinated by a team of reputed researchers. Besides these organizational aspects, the infrastructural nature of ESS lies in the rich and high-quality data resource it constitutes for comparative research on social and political attitudes. The ESS data cover the core dimensions of public opinion investigated in the social and political sciences. ESS also collects a rich array of social background variables, containing information about respondents' social and cultural background, ethnicity, religion, labor market participation, household income, social mobility and various demographics. In addition to this, ESS also constitutes an important methodological infrastructure, due to its innovative procedures for question formulation, translation, measurement, sampling and data access. Finally, besides building a reliable time series of information on comparative social and political attitudes and their social-structural backgrounds through the strict replication of the identical modules of questions in each round, ESS offers significant opportunities for theoretical innovation and renewal. A particularly important instrument here is the inclusion of two rotating topical modules in each round, providing two international teams with the opportunity to include up to 30 new questions in each of the participating countries.
The ESS data is available free of charge for non-commercial use and can be downloaded from the ESS website after a short registration.
Following an application to the European Commission which was submitted by the UK on behalf of 14 other countries, the ESS was awarded European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ERIC) status on 30th November 2013. Currently, 25 countries are members of ESS ERIC. In 2016, ESS ERIC was included in the ESFRI Roadmap as a Landmark Research Infrastructure.
In 2005, the ESS was the winner of the Descartes Prize for Research & Science Communication.

Aansluiting bij strategische ontwikkelingen
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