The ESS Survey Specification (officially called the Survey Specification for ESS ERIC Member, Observer and Guest countries) describes the tasks and responsibilities with regard to conducting the European Social Survey. The specification is adapted before every ESS Round.
The Specification reflects the main objectives of the ESS:
- assembling, interpreting and disseminating via the European Social Survey or otherwise rigorous data on Europe’s social condition, including the shifting attitudes, values, perceptions and behaviour patterns among citizens in different countries;
- providing free and timely access to its accumulated data to professional users and members of the public;
- furthering the advancement of methods of quantitative social measurements and analysis in Europe and beyond.
The Specification outlines the tasks and responsibilities of the National Coordinators and the Survey Agency, list all activities, present a timetable and refer to a set of documents that provide guidelines in specific areas (sampling, translation, interviewer briefing, data delivery).
The aim of the Specification is to ensure that high quality data are collected in a comparable way in each participating country. These data should represent both the populations of the participating countries and the concepts under study. Thus, the four key elements in the Specification with regard to the survey itself are:
- Preparing the national questionnaire, including translation
- Preparing the data collection, including sampling
- Conducting the data collection, including the collection of process data, and
- Data processing and data delivery.