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General information about the ESS

The European Social Survey (ESS) is an academically driven cross-national survey that has been conducted every two years across Europe since 2001. 

Following an application to the European Commission which was submitted by the UK on behalf of 14 other countries, the ESS was awarded ERIC status on 30th November 2013. 

It is directed by a Core Scientific Team led by Professor Rory Fitzgerald from City, University of London, UK alongside seven other partner institutions:

The ESS 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 the 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 in Ireland

Key Individuals in Ireland

Ireland is a member of the ESS ERIC.

Ireland is represented in the ESS11 by its National Coordinator Micheál Collins (UCD School of Social Policy, Social Work and Social Justice).

He is assisted in this role by Mathew Creighton (UCD School of Sociology), Dorren McMahon, Emma Barron and Ebru Isikli (UCD Geary Institute for Public Policy).

Fieldwork for Round 10 of the ESS in Ireland was conducted by Behaviour&Attitudes.

Queries about the ESS in Ireland should be sent to Micheál Collins.

Participation in the ESS

Ireland has participated in every round of the ESS to date


The ESS measures the attitudes, beliefs and behaviour patterns of diverse populations across Europe. 

The questionnaire consists of a core module that is the same in each round, rotating modules that are dedicated to specific topics and a supplementary section dedicated to a human values scale and experimental tests.

Core questions focus on:

  • Crime
  • Democracy and politics
  • Human values
  • Immigration
  • Media use
  • National and ethnic identity
  • Perceived discrimination
  • Religion
  • Social exclusion
  • Social trust/trust in institutions
  • Subjective wellbeing
  • Socio-demographics

Rotating modules focus on:

  • Immigration, citizenship & democracy (round 1, 2002)
  • Economic morality, work, family & well-being, health and care-seeking (round 2, 2004)
  • The timing of life, personal and social well-being (round 3, 2006)
  • Attitudes to ageism and attitudes to welfare (round 4, 2008)
  • Trust in the police and courts (round 5, 2010)
  • Understanding and evaluation of democracy and personal and social well-being (round 6, 2012)
  • Attitudes to immigration and health inequalities (round 7, 2014)
  • Attitudes to welfare, climate change and energy (round 8, 2016)
  • The timing of life, justice and fairness (round 9, 2018)
  • Understanding and evaluation of democracy and digital social contacts (round 10, 2020)
  • Gender in contemporary Europe and health inequalities (round 11, 2023)


The ESS questionnaire in Ireland is fielded using CAPI. The questionnaire is fielded in English. The questionnaire fielded is based on the source questionnaire, but country-specific information e.g. list of political parties, religions, education system and partnership status have been included or adaptations have been made to reflect the national context.

ESS samples are representative of all persons aged 15 and over (no upper age limit) resident within private households in Ireland, regardless of their nationality, citizenship or language. Individuals are selected by strict random probability methods at every stage and a minimum ‘effective achieved sample size’ of 1,500 is aimed for after discounting for design effects.

The ESS sample design in Ireland is a clustered random probability design. The sampling frame used is the geodirectory, and is a sample of addresses, using Eircodes (postal codes).


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Micheál Collins
UCD School of Social Policy, Social Work and Social Justice