FSD Bulletin

Issue 18 (3/2005)

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

Rich Source of Information

Mari Kleemola

European Social Survey (ESS) investigates trends in European values, attitudes and behaviour. The first two rounds were fielded in 2002/2003 and 2004/2005. Data collection for the third round will begin in 2006, and the data will be available to researchers in September 2007.

Widely used data

ESS data are widely used with over 5000 registered users in more than 100 countries. The number of registered users in Finland exceeds 200. Heikki Ervasti, professor in the department of Social Policy at Turku University, is the National Coordinator of the ESS. He says there is growing interest in using the ESS data.
- Finland has experienced a steady increase in the number of users. In fact, at present there are more than an average number of users in Finland compared to the population of only 5 million. So we are talking about datasets that are much in demand.

Ervasti is convinced that it is always possible to find something new to study in the ESS.
- ESS provides such a broad range of data that even if other researchers use them, the potential offered by the data are by no means exhausted. The number of variables they contain provides the possibility to study a great variety of phenomena.

High quality

ESS data are of high quality. Cross-national comparability is ensured by strict processes and standardisation. All participant countries use simple random samples and data are collected with face-to-face interviews. Paper self-completion questionnaires are used for controlling purposes.
- Some of the questions presented in the interviews are included in the self-completion questionnaires but are formulated differently there. In this way we will try to develop the survey variables further. Some questions will only appear on self-completion questionnaires in order to prevent face-to-face interviews from becoming too long, explains Ervasti.

ESS data are freely downloadable and can be accessed through the ESS data website.