Skip to main content

General Social Survey and European Social Survey Partner to Advance Survey Research Methodology Through Innovation

Press Release

For Media Inquiries:

The partnership will focus on multimode methodology, allowing both surveys to cover more of the population and better represent people's sentiments and opinions.

CHICAGO, November 15, 2023 — The General Social Survey (GSS), the single best source for sociological and attitudinal trend data covering the United States, announced a new collaboration with the European Social Survey (ESS). The organizations have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to advance survey research methodology and share best practices with social science researchers. The partnership will focus on developing survey methodology that uses cost-efficient technology and minimizes error to delve into the general public’s opinions about myriad topics. 
The ESS, which in 2013 was granted European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ERIC) status, is headquartered at City, University of London. Like the GSS, the ESS is a rigorous biennial survey of changing attitudes and values and has been conducted in 39 European countries.

“We formed this collaboration so we can learn from each other. The GSS and ESS bring their own distinctive strengths that will contribute to the growth of each survey.”

Director, General Social Survey

“We formed this collaboration so we can learn from each other. The GSS and ESS bring their own distinctive strengths that will contribute to the growth of each survey.”

“We formed this collaboration so we can learn from each other,” said René Bautista, director of the GSS and associate director of the Methodology & Quantitative Social Sciences department at NORC at the University of Chicago. “The GSS and ESS bring their own distinctive strengths that will contribute to the growth of each survey. Together we can continue asking vital questions about societal attitudes over time, with the benefit of using innovative data.”  
Since its launch in 1972, the GSS has amassed a rich and vast historical record of the concerns, experiences, and practices of U.S. residents. The pandemic years forced the GSS to experiment with new designs for data collection, from in-person to a push-to-web methodology. In 2022, the GSS started conducting formal experiments to compare multimode data collection methodologies, which include face-to-face and web-based methodologies paired with a face-to-face nonresponse follow-up. Likewise, in the same year, the ESS announced the beginning of a transition of data collection methodology from face-to-face to self-completion methodology (web and paper). 
“The pioneering work of GSS inspired the ESS, which in turn has developed its own expertise,” said Rory Fitzgerald, director of the ESS. “We look forward to a mutually beneficial partnership where we can continue to capture people’s shifting attitudes through improved research infrastructure, data collection, and wider dissemination.”

The process of signing a Memorandum of Understanding has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 871063. 

General Social Survey

Learn more about the GSS

About the General Social Survey

Since 1972, NORC’s General Social Survey (GSS) has been one of the nation’s most rigorous and widely used sources of data on what Americans think and feel about important national issues such as government spending priorities, crime and punishment, intergroup relations, and confidence in institutions. In addition to informing countless news articles, GSS data have been the basis of more than 32,500 books, scholarly papers, and PhD dissertations over its 50-year history. It is used by more than 400,000 students in their classes each year. The GSS is a project of NORC with principal funding provided by the National Science Foundation.

About NORC at the University of Chicago

NORC at the University of Chicago conducts research and analysis that decision-makers trust. As a nonpartisan research organization and a pioneer in measuring and understanding the world, we have studied almost every aspect of the human experience and every major news event for more than eight decades. Today, we partner with government, corporate, and nonprofit clients around the world to provide the objectivity and expertise necessary to inform the critical decisions facing society.

Contact: For more information, please contact Eric Young at NORC at or (703) 217-6814 (cell).

About the European Social Survey  
The European Social Survey (ESS) is an academically driven cross-national survey that has been conducted in 39 European countries over the past 20 years. Every two years, face-to-face interviews are conducted with newly selected, cross-sectional samples. In the most recent round of the survey (Round 10, 2020-22) some countries conducted interviews using self-completion methods for the first time.

The ESS measures the attitudes, beliefs, and behaviour patterns of diverse populations. The questionnaire includes over 200 items on a range of topics, including climate change, democracy and politics, health and wellbeing, immigration, and socio-demographics. All data collected from almost 500,000 interviews since 2002/03 is freely accessible for academics, policymakers, civil society, and the wider public. It was awarded European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ERIC) status in 2013. 

Contact: For more information, please contact Stefan Swift at ESS HQ at


Research Divisions

Departments, Centers & Programs