Data and Documentation Availability

Ever since the ESS was conceived, the principle of free and immediate access to the data for all has been an integral part of the design. This means that the ESS data are available without restrictions, for not-for-profit purposes, pending only a very simple registration procedure.

ESS distributes all its data and documentation in the ESS Data and Documentation section of this website. This section serves as the reservoir for the complete set of ESS data, metadata and documentation.

ESS Data and Documentation

The ESS Data and Documentation section tries to meet different user requirements and in particular their needs for different levels of documentation. This section is thus structured specifically to provide users with several gateways to the material, including by round (year), theme (modules) and country.

Data and Documentation by Round/Year aims to provide users with an exhaustive and easily accessible overview of all data and survey documentation for the selected rounds. Data and Documentation by Theme gives users a fast track into the specific themes covered by the ESS, be it core modules or rotating modules dedicated to specific topics. The different theme pages list all variables classified under the topic in question for all rounds of the ESS, providing users with quick access to both data and metadata through Nesstar integration. Finally, Data and Documentation by Country provides access to data and documentation for all rounds for the different countries.

The Online browsing and download section, in effect, serves as an electronic codebook (Nesstar webview). It not only makes it possible to display the distribution of the variables, but also to select them and display them in cross-tabulations. Descriptive statistics, e.g. mean, median, standard deviation, quartiles are also available, along with correlation and simple regression. The tables can also be presented graphically, e.g. using bar charts. In datasets containing geographical identifiers, maps can be added to the resource, enabling the data to be displayed spatially. Another useful feature of the system, is its ability to create subsets of the data, based on the values of a particular variable. Whether for analysis, or simply as a means of tailoring a specific subset of the ESS, the data may also be downloaded in a number of different formats, including SPSS, SAS and Stata.

Since the ESS is a repeated cross-sectional survey, a crucial aspect of the data production and distribution is to facilitate for cumulative files with comparable and correct data and metadata over time. An important tool in this regard is the ESS Cumulative Data Wizard, which gives access to cumulative data from countries that have been included in the integrated ESS files in two or more rounds. The wizard enables users to tailor their own data sets and documentation (codebook) by selecting the variables, rounds and countries relevant to their particular research project. After specifying the file according to these parameters, users may download the cumulative file in a number of different file formats, depending on their statistical software package preferences.

The ESS Data and Documentation resource also provides users with access to contextual data such as the ESS Multilevel Data tool, which enables users to combine individual-level data with data about the context (macrodata), be it regions or countries, they live in. Another contextual data resource is the media claims data, which aim to help identify national variations that owe more to exogenous factors than to underlying attitudinal differences.

ESS EduNet

ESS EduNet aims to provide a pedagogical resource that makes it simpler for the coming generations of researchers and higher level students in the social sciences to utilise the ESS data. It also provides lecturers with ready-made ESS topics to use in their teaching. Each module refers to a limited subset of ESS data, carefully selected to focus on a manageable set of dependent and independent variables. In each case, the background theory behind the module is summarised in the package. The exercises are designed to be solved in part online (using Nesstar technology) and in part using downloaded data, processed locally in more sophisticated statistical packages. Scholars in the substantive fields have produced the modules in cooperation with the ESS Data Archive.

ESS Bibliography

Finally, the ESS Bibliography is an important resource in documenting and disseminating the output of ESS-based research, enhancing the visibility of the ESS. The ESS Bibliography is an online dynamic service for registration and retrieval of bibliographical information about the usage of the ESS. It provides flexible access and retrieval. It also offers efficient search for all publications that are available online. The system is freely available, providing researchers, governments, organisations, decision-makers and others with a unique list of social reporting on Europe.