Sampling for the European Social Survey

English title: Sampling for the European Social Survey

Author(s): S. Häder - Peter Lynn - S. Laaksonen - Siegfried Gabler -

Language: Norwegian

Type: Conference paper/poster

Year: 2004


The ESS has used innovative methods to ensure that the samples interviewed in round 1 are of the highest possible quality and are comparable between countries. In this presentation, we will describe why it was important for the ESS to pay close attention to sample design and outline some key achievements of the ESS with respect to sample design. There is considerable variation between countries in the constraints upon sampling (existence of and access to population registers and other sampling frames) and in usual survey practice. ESS has tried hard to minimise the impacts of this variation on the representativeness of the samples. The aim was to achieve samples in each country that represent the same population (all ages 15+, all de facto residents – not just citizens) and provide a similar level of statistical precision. A precondition of comparability is that probability sampling must be used in each country. In addition, the ESS specified the level of precision that should be achieved, in terms of a statistical concept, the effective sample size. Countries were provided with guidance on how to apply this concept to their situation and how to interpret the implications by a central team of sampling experts. This team also helped the national teams to identify and implement appropriate sampling frames and sampling methods and good ways to maximise response rates. A fundamental belief of the ESS is that this co-operative approach with 368 constant multi-way dialogue is more likely to achieve functional equivalence than the application of standard procedures. We will describe the key aspects of the sample specification and how the support and assistance was given to each country. We believe that these processes represent a significant advance on the implementation of other cross-national surveys and have resulted in a higher quality survey product.

Conference name: Sixth International Conference on Social Science Methodology

Location: Amsterdam

Start date: Aug 16, 2004

Type: Paper

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