FSD Bulletin

Issue 15 (3/2004)

ISSN 1795-5262

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FSD Bulletin is the electronic newsletter of the Finnish Social Science Data Archive. The Bulletin provides information and news related to the data archive and social science research.


Finnish Social Science Data Archive
E-mail: fsd@tuni.fi

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European Social Survey Wins High Praise Among Researchers

Over 100 registered ESS users in Finland

Helena Laaksonen 8.2.2005

European Social Survey (ESS) has been available on the website of the Norwegian Social Science Data Service (NSD) since the autumn of 2003. Researchers, students and scholars all over the world have welcomed the data. ESS data are frequently used also in the Nordic countries.

The data from the first survey round were collected during 2002-2003. The second round of data collection has just been completed and the third round, which will be carried out in 2006-2007, is already being planned.

According to Heikki Ervasti, the national ESS coordinator for Finland, Finns have praised the easy accessibility and usability of the data. High quality of both the data and documentation have also been commended. Ervasti has not heard of any negative feedback.

Data are collected every two years. Replicated questions pertain to, for example, the media, trust, political opinions, well-being, and social and personal networks. There are also a few rotating modules.
- Even after serious consideration, there has been no need to make changes to the permanent modules. The work carried out during questionnaire design has proven to be successful, says Ervasti.

Competition for modules is under way

The rotating modules of the first round covered attitudes to immigrants, citizenship, participation and democracy. Rotating modules of the second round are health and care seeking, family, work and well-being, and economic morality.

Third round data collection is already being planned. Competition for questions of the rotating modules will close on 1st March 2005. The second round of European Social Survey covered 26 nations. Iceland, Estonia, Romania and Slovakia have joined the 22 nations of the first survey round.

Finns use the ESS frequently

At the beginning of October 2004, the first round data had 122 registered Finnish users, out of which 51 had downloaded data. In total, the data had had 3067 users in 75 countries. Most users are Germans (400). In the Nordic countries, Norway and Denmark lead user statistics when compared to Finland, but Sweden is clearly behind.

Data are mostly used for teaching and research purposes. Fifty-two users in Finland had registered themselves for this particular user group. Users working on their doctoral dissertation form a separate group. At the beginning of October, there were 8 such users in Finland. Also 41 students have registered.

Finns have a negative attitude to immigrants

Ervasti says that Finnish researchers have been especially interested in the indicators of social capital. This year, he himself published an article comparing attitudes to foreigners in different countries.

On the basis of everyday experience, it is not surprising that according to his results Finns take a negative view on the reception of immigrants. Meanwhile, a more surprising comparison revealed that cultural fears about immigrants are less common in Finland than in any other country. Compared to other nationalities Finnish people are not worried about the increase of crime or heterogeneity, nor are they afraid that Finnish national culture might suffer as a result of immigration.
- Probably the general negative attitude is related to the fact that as yet there are few foreigners in Finland, even though their number is rising rapidly, Ervasti infers.

More information on ESS