European Social Survey is methodologically and theoretically the most comprehensive international comparative research in the field of social science that is being conducted under auspices of the European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ERIC).
You can find more about ERIC and governance structure here.
The ESS is an academically driven cross-national survey that has been conducted across Europe since its establishment in 2001. Every two years, face-to-face interviews are conducted with newly selected, cross-sectional samples.
The survey measures the attitudes, beliefs and behaviour patterns of diverse populations in more than thirty nations. 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 rigour 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.
ESS has been recognized from the institutions of the European Union (European Commission and the Parliament of the EU) as one of the key data sources that enables measurement and understanding of the long-term structural changes, as well of changes of value and cultural patterns and practices of citizens in the European societies. European Commission regularly uses the data obtained from this research for the monitoring of social phenomena and formulation of practical policies on the EU level.
More about data and research methodology can be found here.
ESS in the Western Balkans
Majority of the Western Balkan countries participated in at least one round of the ESS (see the timeline below). Participation in the ESS is important both for academic reasons and for developing quality public policies. In academia, it will lead to transfer of relevant theoretical and methodological knowledge and practice in the field of social science research to the local scientific community and increase their visibility in international circles. At the policy level, it will help decision makers making informed decisions based on data and will contribute to evidence-based policy making.