ESRA 2017 Programme

Tuesday 18th July      Wednesday 19th July      Thursday 20th July      Friday 21th July     

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Tuesday 18th July, 09:00 - 10:30 Room: N 101

Overview of open access European survey data 1

Chair Dr Annette Scherpenzeel (SHARE – Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe )
Coordinator 1Ms Sabine Friedel (Munich Center for the Economics of Aging, Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy)

Session Details

In recent years, many large sets of survey data have been made available to the scientific community. Large national and European surveys, such as ESS, SHARE, SOEP, Understanding Society, etc., disseminate their data to registered users. For researchers it can be difficult to get a good overview of what is offered and to find the specific variables and samples of their interest.

This session aims to give researchers more insight into the variety of variables available in large survey datasets. For that purpose, we invite survey practitioners to present their data sets, longitudinal as well as cross-sectional, to potential users. Presentations should address the following survey characteristics: Research field, target population and sample, survey design, data access regulations, available survey variables and paradata, linked administrative data (if applicable), and some examples of data use. Moreover, we especially welcome overviews including information which can be used for methodological analysis, such as key stroke data, auxiliary information, interviewer characteristics and observations, response behavior, experimental designs, etc.

Paper Details

1. The International Social Survey Programme (ISSP)
Mrs Regina Jutz (GESIS - Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences)
Dr Evi Scholz (GESIS - Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences)

The International Social Survey Programme (ISSP) is a cross-national collaboration programme which has been running annual surveys on topics relevant for social science research for three decades. Over the years, the ISSP has grown to about 50 members, covers many cultures and languages, and has member countries on every continent. The continuous collaboration of the ISSP member organisations allows for cross-national analyses over time.
The first ISSP module “Role of Government” was fielded in 1985. By 2016, the ISSP has run eleven different thematic modules that are planned to be partially replicated, nowadays at an approximate ten-year interval. The topics encompass relevant areas of social science research, such as “National Identity”, “Religion”, “Role of Government”, and “Environment”, to name some examples. Some of the modules have already been conducted four times, such as the modules “Family and Changing Gender Roles” or “Social Inequality”. The partial replication of previous modules promotes cross-time comparisons, but offers enough leeway for new ideas and upcoming research topics. Furthermore, the ISSP periodically creates new modules, such as “Health and Health Policy” in 2011. All modules are accompanied by a common core of background variables which include sociodemographic information of the respondent and technical variables such as weights and descriptions of data-collection.
A particular advantage for the user is the transparency of the ISSP, since it is one of few cross-national studies that conduct and publish methodological reports of the annual studies and their national implementation. Also, there are several ISSP working groups on methodology issues such as demography, translation or non-response which bring the ISSP forward on the newest research developments in cross-cultural survey methods.
The ISSP has a very specific, democratic form of organisation. There is an annual General Assembly that takes final decisions by majority vote, e.g. on the contents of ISSP questionnaires. All active ISSP members have equal rights and each ISSP member has one vote in elections. The ISSP secretariat is responsible for the day-to-day business and chairs the General Assembly. Each ISSP member processes the respective national data and sends it to the GESIS Data Archive for the Social Sciences. The Archive then checks and integrates the data, distributes the merged international datasets as well as their documentation. All ISSP data, questionnaires and documentation are free of charge for each and every interested researcher.


2. The European Social Survey: a data resource for all
Dr Rory Fitzgerald (ESS ERIC)
Mr Luca Salini (European Social Survey, City, University of London)
Mr Stefan Swift (European Social Survey, City, University of London)

The paper will present an overview of the datasets from the European Social Survey including its core and rotating questionnaire. The data included in the 7 published rounds to date will also be presented. The ESS policy of free and swift data access to all will be emphasised as will the attempts to maximise transparency.

In addition, the interviewer and supplementary questionnaire datasets will be introduced. The ESS also publishes so called contact form datasets which provide information about every contact attempt made to target sample units as well as its sample design data files which will also be examined.

The related ESS quality report and methodological protocols will discussed along with helpful support services such as the on-line analysis tool, weighting guidelines, cumulative data wizard and multilevel contextual datasets.


3. The Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE)
Dr Annette Scherpenzeel (SHARE – Survey of HealChair for Economics of Aging, Technical University of Munich)
Dr Frederic Malter (Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) )
Dr Julie Korbmacher (Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) )

Population ageing is one of the challenges of the 21st century so that sufficient information to understand the impacts on the living conditions of older people and their families, and the influences of state policies on these living conditions are essential. SHARE, the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement was established in 2004 to provide empirical evidence on individual and societal ageing. It is a multidisciplinary and cross-national panel database of micro data on health, socio-economic status and social and family networks of approximately 123,000 individuals (more than 293,000 interviews) from 20 European countries (+Israel) aged 50 or older. Comparative research often struggles with comparability of the data obtained in the different settings. In SHARE, comparability is ensured by ex-ante harmonization of questionnaire design and translation, central coordination and monitoring of fieldwork procedures, and a central and harmonized data preparation and release procedure. Within country specific side projects SHARE extends the survey data with other data sources as administrative data or information about the interviewer collected in an additional web survey. These side projects are extremely voluntarily for methodological analysis. The data are available to the entire research community free of charge and are easy to access.
The proposed presentation will give an overview of the content of SHARE, the methodology used and future developments.


4. The Generations and Gender Programme
Dr Tom Emery (NIDI)

Family relationships have changed a lot over the past few decades. Today’s families differ considerably from the 1950s where a male breadwinner was supported by his doting housewife. Families have become less stable, more complex and highly diversified. The rapid ageing of European populations has also contributed to this rapid pace of change and new types of families have emerged alongside new relationships between generations and between genders. Understanding these changes will help us meet many of the challenges that societies face today such as: How do we support and care for older people? How is disadvantage inherited? Why are women having fewer children? Answering such questions is the primary aim of the Generations and Gender Programme (GGP).
It improves our understanding of how various factors affect family life by collecting high quality individual-level survey data on topics such as partnership formation & dissolution, fertility and intergenerational solidarity. Respondents are interviewed every 3 years and changes in the family life are recorded. Importantly, the GGP covers the whole adult life-course, between the age of 18 and 79, and is therefore the only dataset dedicated to the longitudinal and cross-national study of family life and generational relationships from early adulthood to older ages. Over time, the GGP follows respondents through relationships, marriages, parenthood, divorces, deaths and many of the trials and tribulations that people meet with. It then helps track the impact and consequences of these events at an individual and societal level. This survey data are complemented with indicators at the regional and national level through a contextual database and help us understand what part policy and other contextual factors play in family life.
The GGP was founded in 2000 by a consortium of European institutes, statistical offices and research centers within universities under the umbrella of the UNECE (United Nations Economic Commission for Europe). The GGP has been hosted by the Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute (NIDI) since 2009 and this central hub is supported in its operations by three nodes. To date, 19 countries have fielded the programmes survey, including European and non-European countries. This data is used by more than 3,000 users from across the world and from a large variety of disciplines. It provides its data via a virtual, open access data portal. In recent years, the GGP has reached two major milestones. First, in 2009 it received a Design Study funding by the European Commission (FP7-INFRASTRUCTURES-2007-1). Second, in 2016 it obtained the status of Emerging Project by the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI). There will be a new round of data collection commencing in 2019 which will include a wide range of new features and greater centralization. These innovations and developments will be presented in detail during the presentation.


5. European Values Study 1981-2017
Dr Ruud Luijkx (Tilburg University)
Dr Loek Halman (Tilburg University)

The European Values Study is a large-scale, cross-national, and longitudinal survey research program on basic human values providing insight into the ideas, beliefs, preferences, attitudes, values and opinions of citizens all over Europe. It is a unique research project on how Europeans think about life, family, work, religion, politics and society.

The European Values Study started in 1981, when a thousand citizens in the European Member States of that time were interviewed using standardized questionnaires. Every nine years, the survey is repeated in an increasing number of countries. The fourth wave in 2008 covers no less than 47 European countries/regions, from Iceland to Armenia and from Portugal to Norway. In total, about 70,000 people in Europe were interviewed. The fifth wave will be held in 2017.

A rich academic literature is based on the surveys and numerous other works have made use of the findings. Data are free available in several formats from the GESIS Data Archive and are compatible with the data from the World Values Survey. The database not only contains the data itself, but also full information on the used questionnaires (for all countries and languages used)--this information can be searched at the variable level:
- Online variable overview EVS 1981-2008 allows for comparisons of trend variables of all EVS waves. In addition, it supports comparisons of original question texts across the waves 1999 and 2008;
- ZACAT at GESIS provides data and documentation for retrieval purposes and data exploration. It further allows searching for variables and identifying trend variables across EVS waves;
- Question text retrieval allows for full-text searches in the English Master Questionnaires and multilingual variable documentation.