Data Collection

In the ESS, data have to be collected via face-to-face interviews (preferably CAPI) in all participating countries.

In each country, the national funding agency appoints a National Coordinator (NC) and a survey organisation to implement the survey according to common ESS specifications. The ESS specifications are set to ensure accuracy of data in each country and to optimise comparability of data across countries. The most important standards on data collection include:

 

In order to foster compliance with these standards, the ESS Core Scientific Team provides guidelines, training materials, as well as individual feedback and support to countries. The training materials consist of an interviewer manual plus a series of pre-structured slides with movie clips. The slides are developed with a teaching approach which acknowledges the interviewers’ previous experience while identifying and remedying any gaps in their knowledge or skills.

The whole process of preparation and implementation of data collection in each country is monitored by the CST. At various points in the survey life cycle, countries are required to document and discuss the planning and progress of data collection. Important milestones include:

 

Before data collection:

 

During data collection:

 

After data collection:

 

Taken together, the ESS aims to achieve a process of continuous improvement in data collection by implementing a coherent set of quality assurance activities. These activities include the definition of standards, the provision of support in implementing the standards, the analysis and documentation of survey procedures and numerous quality indicators, and, finally, the provision of feedback on any observed deficiencies.