British Participation in the International Social Survey Programme, 2013-2015

Lead Research Organisation: National Centre for Social Research
Department Name: Research Department

Abstract

The International Social Survey Programme (ISSP) is one of the most important attempts to undertake cross-national survey research that currently exists. 48 countries currently participate, covering all five of the inhabited continents across the world. Each year, member countries field an agreed module of 60 questions on a particular topic, usually as part of an existing random probability survey. The data from these studies, along with a set of prescribed socio-demographic background variables, is then deposited in an agreed format with the ISSP data archive.

A wide range of different modules have been fielded since the project began in 1985, covering topics such as social inequality, religion, and the role of government. Topics are chosen at an annual plenary meeting by attending members. They are revisited periodically, with a number having now been covered three or four times. As a result, ISSP data can be used both to examine differences between countries at a particular point in time and to compare differences in trends over time.

A combined data set containing data for all countries in which a module has been fielded is made publicly available to the research community approximately two years after the module fieldwork. ISSP data are widely used; worldwide, over 200 publications using ISSP data are recorded each year. In Britain alone, there have been over 400 publications using ISSP data since the programme began, not far short of 10% of the worldwide total.

Since ISSP began in 1985, Britain's participation has taken place by including the ISSP module on a self-completion supplement that forms part of the British Social Attitudes survey, an annual, high quality independent survey conducted by NatCen. This is a highly cost effective way of fielding the module, as only the marginal costs of asking the ISSP questions have to be covered.

Until 2002, British participation was primarily funded through the core funding given to the Centre for Research into Elections and Social Trends, an ESRC Research Centre. Since 2004 it has been funded as a research resource by the ESRC Resources Board, and this application proposes that this arrangement should continue for a further three years.

ISSP modules will cover three topics during this period: national identity (2013), citizenship (2014) and work orientations (2015):
- The national identity module was previously fielded in 1995 and 2003. Its repetition will provide valuable data allowing us to track how views about issues such as national pride and identity have changed over a period which in many countries has been marked by considerable economic difficulty, changing migration patterns and political turmoil.
- The 2014 module on citizenship was fielded in 2004, and will include questions about democracy, political participation and political efficacy, and trust towards politicians.
- The 2015 module on work orientations (another repeat module) will allow us to examine changing experiences of work, including work patterns and work-life balance, and workplace relationships. This will provide valuable information about how recession has affected people's attitudes towards, and commitment to, work.

A range of dissemination activities promoting the use of ISSP data in Britain are proposed, and at least one chapter a year based on ISSP data will appear in the annual British Social Attitudes reports.

Planned Impact

The primary beneficiaries of this project will be social scientists, both in Britain and internationally, with an interest in conducting cross-national research. The data collected as part of ISSP will provide them with a unique resource (see section on Academic Beneficiaries and Case for Support for further details).

Academics will readily be able to access the British data through the UK Data Archive whilst the full cross-national data set will be made available via the ISSP website and the ZentralArchiv fur Emprische Sozialforschung (ZA), University of Cologne. As in previous years, full documentation will be provided along with the data.

The importance of the data set to academic users is reflected in the large number of publications using ISSP data. In Britain alone, over 400 publications using ISSP data have been recorded (Britain was the 3rd highest contributing country after the USA and Germany). Use of the British data is of course far greater than this figure suggests, as they are used in a wide range of publications generated outside the UK (the worldwide total for known publications using ISSP data stands at 5,225). Further information about ISSP publication trends can be found at www.issp.org/page.php?pageId=150.

We are committed to a wide range of dissemination activities to ensure that the ISSP data collected are widely known about and used within the academic community. These include:
- Giving presentations on ISSP to appropriate audiences (the Principal Applicant has recently given talks at an ESDS International Datasets event, and a special event organized by NatCen, City University and ESDS, which focused on ISSP and the European Social Survey)
- Ensuring information about data releases appears on relevant academic list-servers
- Publicising findings by including chapters based on ISSP data in the annual British Social Attitudes report. For example,
- the 30th Report (2013) will include a chapter on gender roles and family using questions asked in the 2012 survey. The chapter will make use of the long time series of data we have for this module, which was also asked in 2002, 1994 and 1988
- the 28th Report (2011) included a chapter using data from the 2010 environment module, and the 27th Report (2010) included 2 chapters using the 2009 social inequality module

Whilst the main purpose of this application is for funds to provide a resource for the academic community, it is anticipated that the published findings that result will be of considerable interest to the wider community including government policy makers and other practitioners. Several elements of our proposed dissemination strategy will help ISSP findings to reach a wider audience, not least our commitment to ensuring that the annual British Social Attitudes Report, which receives extensive media coverage, contains a chapter using ISSP data.

Publications

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Description The main output of the grant is a rich data resource for academics, other research users and policy makers. The grant funds Britain's participation in the International Social Survey Programme (ISSP), with data collected annually as part of the British Social Attitudes survey and deposited at the UK Data Archive. The data also forms part of a cross-national dataset covering nearly 50 countries worldwide (available at the ISSP data archive). This grant covers three years of ISSP data collection, on national identity (2013), citizenship (2014) and work (2015).

Each annual British Social Attitudes Report, which is freely available online and receives extensive media coverage, contains a chapter using ISSP data. Key findings from the chapters based on the three modules covered by this grant are as follows.
The 33rd BSA report included a chapter that was based on British data from the ISSP 2015 Work module. Key findings included the following:

• While 92% of people thought that job security was either important, or very important, only around two-thirds of workers (65%) agreed they actually have this in their job.
• 62% of respondents said they would enjoy having a job even if they didn't need the money, up from 49% in 2005.
• 37% of workers experienced stress "always" or "often", compared with 28% in 1989. Professional and managerial workers, and those aged 35-44 were most likely to feel stressed.

The 32nd BSA report included a chapter on 'Politics' that featured British data from the ISSP 2014 Citizenship module:

• 67% of people had signed a petition in the last year, down from 73% in 2004.
• 83% of people kept up with political news at least once a week, either through newspapers, TV, radio or online.
• 55% of people were at least 'fairly interested' in politics, up from 49% in 2004.

The 31st BSA report included a chapter which analysed British data from the ISSP 2013 National Identity module:

• 95% of people thought that being able to speak English was important for being 'truly British', up from 85% in 1995.
• 24% said that being Christian was important for being 'truly British', down from 32% in 1995.
• 74% felt that being born in Britain was important for being 'truly British'. In contrast to the other attributes or characteristics highlighted above, there was no change on this: in 1995, 76% said the same.

In November 2015, NatCen published a report titled 'Great Britain?: How people in Britain feel about this country', which featured British data from the ISSP 2013 and ISSP 2003 National Identity modules, as well as ISSP 2013 National Identity module data from other countries.
• 82% of people said they were proud to be British, in both 2013 and 2003.
• Graduates were less likely than those with no qualifications to feel strongly proud or connected to Britain.
• 73% said they feel proud to be British when the country does well in international sports.
Exploitation Route The British Social Attitudes reports are freely available online and receive considerable media attention, meaning that they are likely to have widespread impact across different audiences, including academics, research users and policy makers and the general public. By way of illustration, the 'key findings' section of the report in BSA 32 received more than 20,000 unique page views in the year after launch; while the national identity chapter from BSA 31 (based on ISSP data) had over 3000 unique page views.
Academics, policy makers and other researchers are able to access the British data through the UK Data Archive whilst the full cross-national data set is available via the ISSP website and the ZentralArchiv fur Emprische Sozialforschung (ZA), University of Cologne. As in previous years, full documentation is provided along with the data. The topics covered by ISSP, along with the wide range of countries included in the data set, means that there is plenty of scope for the data to be used to address research questions of interest to policy makers, third sector organisations and the wider research community.
The importance of the data set to academic users is reflected in the large number of publications using ISSP data. To date, ISSP data has been used in over 8000 publications world-wide. This count is based on publications known to use ISSP data from at least two member countries, and so does not include publications that only consider ISSP data from one country. Nearly seven percent of ISSP publications are identifiable as originating in Great Britain. The use of British ISSP data is far higher than this, however, as it is also used in a large number of publications generated outside the UK. Further publication trends can be found here: http://www.issp.org/fileadmin/user_upload/Bibliography/ISSPBB17rpt.pdf
Sectors Communities and Social Services/Policy,Education,Environment,Healthcare,Government, Democracy and Justice,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections,Security and Diplomacy,Transport

URL http://www.natcen.ac.uk/our-research/research/international-social-survey-programme/
 
Description The main output of the grant is a rich data resource for academics, other research users and policy makers. The grant funds Britain's participation in the International Social Survey Programme (ISSP), with data collected annually as part of the British Social Attitudes survey and deposited at the UK Data Archive. All years covered by this grant (2013, 2014 and 2015) have now been deposited at the Archive. BSA is one of the most frequently downloaded datasets from the Archive, with users coming from a wide range of organisations including central and local government, universities, third sector organisations and research organisations. The data also forms part of a cross-national dataset covering nearly 50 countries worldwide (available at the ISSP data archive). The topics covered by ISSP, along with the wide range of countries included in the data set, means that there is plenty of scope for the data to be used to address research questions of interest to policy makers, third sector organisations and the wider research community. This grant covered three years of ISSP data collection, on national identity (2013), citizenship (2014) and work (2015). In addition to collecting and depositing the data for other research users, NatCen achieves impact beyond the academic community through the promotion of International Social Survey Programme data to non-academic users. There are two main mechanisms for this: first through including the findings in each British Social Attitudes Report. The second is through dissemination activities such as presentations, seminars, launch events and workshops. 1) Each annual British Social Attitudes Report, which is freely available online contains a chapter using ISSP data. This explicitly open-access approach means the findings are likely to have widespread impact across different audiences, including the wider social science community, policy makers and the general public. As an example, the national identity chapter from BSA 31 (based on ISSP data) has had over 11,000 unique page views since it was published. The impact of BSA is helped by its high media profile - illustrated by the fact that in 2017 the survey has been mentioned more than 1,600 times in the national, online and local media; while in 2016 we had over 100 mentions on Twitter each month. For chapters based on ISSP modules covered by this grant, notable press coverage included articles or items in the Daily Mail, the Guardian and the BBC website for the National identity chapter, while the Work chapter findings were covered in a piece in the Mail on Sunday. With a reach of approximately 2m for each of the Daily Mail, the Guardian and the BBC website, this means the findings are very likely to have had impact well beyond the social science community. 2) In the period covered by this grant, NatCen staff promoted the International Social Survey Programme (and the data collected by BSA) at a number of external facing events and presentations, including: - two sessions for the UK Data Service (a workshop and subsequent webinar - September 2016) which were attended by independent non-academic researchers among others. Webinar link: https://www.ukdataservice.ac.uk/news-and-events/eventsitem/?id=4770 - an evening seminar for the Social Research Association, whose membership includes social, market and independent researchers as well as those working in government departments.
First Year Of Impact 2014
Sector Government, Democracy and Justice
Impact Types Societal,Policy & public services

 
Title British Social Attitudes 2013 dataset 
Description Data collected as part of the British Social Attitudes 2013 survey, including the ISSP module 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2015 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact Many users download the data from the UK Data Archive; chapters based on the data are published in the British Social Attitudes annual report for that survey year. 
URL https://beta.ukdataservice.ac.uk/datacatalogue/studies/study?id=7500
 
Title British Social Attitudes 2014 dataset 
Description Data collected as part of the British Social Attitudes survey in 2014, including the ISSP module for that year 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2016 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact Users regularly download the dataset from the UK Data Archive; chapters based on the data are published in the British Social Attitudes report for that year. 
URL https://beta.ukdataservice.ac.uk/datacatalogue/studies/study?id=7809
 
Title British Social Attitudes 2015 dataset 
Description Data collected as part of the British Social Attitudes survey in 2015 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2016 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact Many users download the data from the UK Data Archive; chapters based on the data are published in the British Social Attitudes annual report for that year 
URL https://beta.ukdataservice.ac.uk/datacatalogue/studies/study?id=8116
 
Description Seminar (SRA) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact An evening seminar for the Social Research Association (SRA), held at Defra offices in Central London. The talk was entitled "How politically engaged are the British public?" and was presented by Miranda Phillips (PI for the ISSP grant) and Ian Simpson (researcher). The presentation drew on the researchers' analysis and findings from the ISSP module on "citizenship", which had been written up in the BSA annual report that year. The event was well attended and attracted a range of different participants.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Webinar for the UK Data archive 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Undergraduate students
Results and Impact NatCen researchers delivered a webinar for the UK Data Archive on British Social Attitudes data collection and use - including ISSP data. It included availability of data.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL https://www.ukdataservice.ac.uk/news-and-events/eventsitem/?id=4770