Survey Participants

For participants in ESS surveys and other research activities

Protecting your personal information is important to us. This webpage outlines what we do with the information we collect and store when you take part in our surveys or research activities.

Why are we contacting you?

ESS has asked national statistics agencies to produce representative lists of possible participants, based on random sampling information about [your age, gender, address] or household.

Young respondents (aged 15-18, depending on national law) at the time of the interview will require permission to participate from a parent/guardian. As a parent/guardian, you can request to see the questionnaire in advance.

Your participation in the ESS and other research activities

During the ESS interview, you will be asked a number of questions about your attitudes, life events, as well as more factual questions. We will ask about, politics, religion, trade union membership and about your attitudes to social issues. Your answers from the interview will be recorded electronically. We also gather information about the area you live in.

Your participation in the survey is voluntary. You are free to choose which questions you want to answer, and you may stop the interview at any time without giving any explanation.

If you decide not to participate

If you decide not to take part in the ESS, for whatever reason, we will ask and record the reason(s) why, for example if this is due to a language barrier or illness/sickness. This information helps us to check that the people who participate in the survey are representative of the overall population in your country. For information about your privacy and rights, see below.

What happens with the collected information?

  • We will treat all the information about you with strict confidentiality and in accordance with the UK Data Protection Act 2018, EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and applicable national data protection laws.
  • Only the fieldwork organisation, that collects data, will have access to your contact (e.g. name and address) information.
  • When the survey is finished, the fieldwork organisation will send the ESS data, without your name or contact details, to the ESS Archive (Sikt - Norwegian Agency for Shared Services in Education and Research, Bergen, Norway).
  • Your name and contact information will be deleted when the data is published.
  • The rest of the collected ESS data will be securely stored for an indefinite period. They are made available for use in scientific studies by researchers, students and others interested in Europeans’ social attitudes.
  • There is a possibility but it is unlikely that some information (such as citizenship, age, country of birth, occupation, ancestry and region) may combine in a way that would identify you. This is a possibility only for the survey responses which are not published. Access to these data will only be given to researchers after approved applications and confidentiality agreements are in place.
  • The results of the survey will be published on the ESS website.
  • We will make every effort to ensure that no participant is identifiable in the results of the survey or in any publications based on the study.

Your rights

As long as we can identify you in the ESS results (the survey responses), you have the right to object to the processing of your personal data, to access, rectify and erase any information about you, and to ask us what information we hold about you. Once details such as your name and address are removed, then it will no longer be possible to delete the information you provided.

You also have the right to lodge a complaint to your national supervisory authority or with the UK Information Commission’s Office. See Contacts section below.

Who is responsible?

The European Social Survey European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ESS ERIC) undertakes the survey and other research activities and is the Controller. Its headquarters are in London, UK.

What organisations are involved?

In each country, a National Coordinator (NC) is appointed to conduct the survey. NCs can appoint a fieldwork organisation to carry out the interviews. The NC and fieldwork organisation have the role(s) of data processor/sub-processor, processing personal data after instructions from ESS ERIC.

See the National Pages for an overview of the key members of each national team. For other research projects, the details of the processors are provided.

What gives us the right to collect your personal data?

The lawful bases used in ESS are that it is undertaken as a task in the public interest and necessary for research and archiving purposes, in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulation and national laws.

ESS Round 11 Self-completion 2023-24

The purpose of processing your contact information is as part of the experimental research on the use of self-completion approaches in social attitude surveys.

The legal ground is art 6.1 (e) and 9.2(j) of the GDPR and applicable national laws.

The processing location is ESS ERIC HQ, at City, University of London UK, and personal data will be treated in accordance with GDPR.

Pilot Applications in Urban Landscapes (PAUL) project (2023-25): What we do with the contact information you have provided

View a PDF version of the GDPR Information Sheet for respondents in Munich (DE) and Paris (FR):

The purpose of processing your contact information is for surveys that ESS ERIC is conducting as part of the Pilot Applications in Urban Landscapes (PAUL) project. The project will develop and evaluate innovative greenhouse gas measurement technologies and observatories in Munich, Paris and Zurich. The surveys are taking place in Munich and Paris. This project is funded from the EU Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme (2014-2020) under Grant Agreement  No. 101037319.

The legal ground is art 6.1 (e) and 9.2(j) of the GDPR and applicable national laws.

The processing location, after processing on the Qualtrics platform, is ESS ERIC HQ, at City, University of London UK, University of Essex UK, Pompeu Fabra University Spain, and Sikt (the Norwegian Agency for Shared Services in Education and Research, Norway) and personal data will be treated in accordance with GDPR.

Where can I find out more?

To find out more about the study, visit the National Pages.


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Data Protection

Data Protection Officer, ESS ERIC (Data Controller):

Controller Representative in the EU: