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Data for comparative research

Eurobarometer survey series

The Eurobarometer survey series is a unique program of cross-national and cross-temporal comparative social research. Since the early seventies representative national samples of the populations of all European Union member countries have been simultaneously interviewed each spring and each autumn. The Eurobarometer surveys are designed to provide regular monitoring of the social and political attitudes of the EU population. The Eurobarometer surveys have been made available to the scientific community via ICPSR (Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research), SSD (Swedish Social Science Data Archive) and GESIS, which process and document the data sets to facilitate secondary analysis.

The Central and Eastern Eurobarometer surveys which have been carried out since 1990 are also included.


The Latinobarometer are a cross-national comparative survey programme in 18 Latin American countries. It investigates the development of democracy and economies as well as societies, using indicators of opinion, attitudes, behaviour and values. Here you can find further information: Latinobarometer website at GESIS.


ISSP studies

The International Social Survey Programme (ISSP) started in 1983 and has since expanded to more than 40 countries all over the world. The purpose of the programme is to secure a greater element of cross-national comparability by using a standardized bolt-on supplementary questionnaire designed specifically for cross-national surveys. GESIS is responsible for integrating and documenting the data sets from all participating countries.

Election studies

also see: International Election Studies at GESIS

ICORE election studies

GESIS Data Archive has collected several major election studies on national parliaments in Europe in cooperation with the International Committee for Research into Elections and Representative Democracy (ICORE) and the Council of European Social Science Data Archives (CESSDA).

ICORE was established by the principal investigators from nine European countries: Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden. Elections studies available in these countries have been documented in the "ICORE Inventory of National Election Studies 1945 - 1995". The study descriptions included in this inventory can also be searched through the ISYS full-text retrieval system.

The ICORE holdings at the EUROLAB presently comprises more than 160 election studies with documentation from the above mentioned countries for the time period 1949 until 2002. Please note that most studies can only be accessed in the EUROLAB with prior formal permission. For further information contact EUROLAB staff.

In the meantime several other countries have joined ICORE, among others Portugal. The Portuguese election study 2002 can be ordered via GESIS.

European Voter integrated election files

Based on the ICORE election studies principal investigators from Denmark, Germany, Great Britain, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden have made integrated subsets of the respective national election studies. These subsets have served as bases for the analyses in Jacques Thomassen (ed.) "The European Voter" published by the Oxford University Press in September 2005. GESIS staff has developed a database including the integrated files, trends, study descriptions and other relevant documentation. The database (ZA Nr. 3911) is now publicly available via the Internet.

Election studies from Eastern Europe

A major part of the data collection on elections and political attitudes from East European countries are the 40 archived data sets which have been collected by the "Unit on institutions and social change" of the Science Centre Berlin (Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin - WZB) in the framework of the project "Free elections, political parties and the emergence of competitive party systems in Eastern Europe" since 1991, which was financed by the Fritz Thyssen Foundation. The data is processed, documented and made available to the scientific community in cooperation of WZB and GESIS (Election studies from Eastern Europe).

European Election Study - EES

The EES 1994 essentially consists of a survey conducted immediately after the European Parliament election of June 1994 in the framework of Eurobarometer 41.1. A number of pertinent variables from three other Eurobarometer surveys are documented and included in addition. Longitudinal analyses are particularly supported by the fact that 1994 study contents are partially overlapping with those of the European Election Study 1989 (ZA study number 2320). For detailed information see the EES homepage.

Comparative Studies of Electoral Systems - CSES

The Comparative Study of Electoral Systems (CSES) is a collaborative programme of cross-national research among election studies conducted in over fifty consolidated and emerging democracies. By coordinating the collection of electoral data across polities, the CSES strives to advance the understanding of enduring and fundamental debates about electoral behaviour in a way not possible through the secondary analysis of existing data. For further information see CSES homepage.

The Comparative Manifestos Project

This study is a content analysis of party manifestos in twenty countries all over the world from 1945 until 1988. 56 issue categories were defined and the percentages of sentences in each category were determined and registered in a data set. A data set with the coded categories for the party programs 1945 - 1998 is available in English at GESIS.

In addition, GESIS Data Archive holds the original documents of party manifestos collected in the Comparative Manifestos Project by H.-D. Klingemann, R.I. Hofferbert and I. Budge. The collection at present includes about 1200 documents. For more information about this collection of party manifestos please contact Bruno Hopp from the GESIS data service staff.

Other comparative studies

The European and World Values Surveys

The first European Values Survey was conducted in 1981 by the European Value Systems Study Group. Countries participating in the study were France, Italy, Spain, West Germany, Denmark, Great Britain, Northern Ireland, the Netherlands and Ireland. The purpose was a cross-national survey of moral, religious, political and social values in western Europe.

The survey was replicated in 14 additional countries between 1981 and 1984, including countries outside Europe such as Argentina and South Korea, referred to as the World Values Survey by R. Inglehart and the World Values Survey Group. The second wave of the World Values Survey was carried out between 1990 and 1993 including 43 nations. The data and codebooks of the World Values Surveys 1981 - 1984 and 1990 - 1993 are available in English at GESIS. The European Values Survey is also included in the data of the 1981 - 1984 study, but only to the extent to which the variables were used also in the World Values Survey. In order to investigate further the dynamics of value changes the European survey was repeated in 1999/2000. The data was processed by Tilburg and GESIS and are now available.

For further information see:

The USIA XX surveys

The USIA XX study is a collection of more than sixty surveys conducted in European countries in the late fifties and early sixties. The title of the surveys is "international relations" and the principal investigator was the USIA (United States Information Agency) in Washington. The surveys focused on topics like security policy, international politics, foreign policy, arms control, evaluation of American and Soviet policy. The data was processed and documented at GESIS with support of the European Science Foundation (ESF). The data and questionnaires are available in English at GESIS (see here the example of Great Britain in 1957). Many of the USIA surveys were made available in 2002 through a cooperation between GESIS, Roper Center, Fritz-Thyssen-Stiftung and Prof. Dr. Hans Rattinger.

The Civic Culture Survey

This classic study was carried out by Gabriel A. Almond and Sidney Verba in five nations in 1959/60 and was one of the earliest comparative studies. The study compared political attitudes, political culture, political socialisation of the population and democracy in Great Britain, West Germany, Italy, Mexico and the United States. Data and documentation are available in English at GESIS.

The Four Nation Study

The "Four nation Study" data set contains information about the political attitudes and beliefs of citizens in Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain. The four surveys were conducted in the spring of 1985 by polling organisations operating in the four countries. Data and documentation are available in English at GESIS.

The Political Action Surveys

The Political Action Study consists of three parts. The first original study was carried out in eight nations between 1973 and 1976: Great Britain, West Germany, the Netherlands, Austria, the United States, Italy, Switzerland and Finland. Questions were asked about the extent and form of political participation, political orientation, post materialism, social and political attitudes and life satisfaction. The respondents from West Germany, the Netherlands and the United States were re-interviewed between 1979 and 1981. In addition, a new representative sample of the population in these three countries was drawn and interviewed between 1979 and 1981 as well. The contents of the studies carried out between 1979 and 1981 focused on the structure and determinants of political participation and political ideology. The data and documentation are available in English at GESIS:

European Social Survey

The European Social Survey (ESS) is an academically driven cross-national survey that has been conducted every two years across Europe since 2001. The survey measures the attitudes, beliefs and behaviour patterns of diverse populations in more than thirty nations.

The International Social Justice Project

The International Social Justice Project is an international collaborative research project which has explored popular beliefs and attitudes on social, economic and political justice through two large-scale opinion surveys fielded in thirteen countries in 1991 and six countries in 1996. The 1991 survey was fielded in Russia, Estonia, Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, Slovenia, Germany (eastern and western), the United States, England, Holland, and Japan. The 1996 survey, replicating most of the questions from 1991, was fielded in Russia, Estonia, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria and Germany.

The German Socio-Economic Panel

The SOEP is a wide-ranging representative longitudinal study of private households. It provides information on all household members, consisting of Germans living in the Old and New German States, Foreigners, and recent Immigrants to Germany. The Panel was started in 1984. In 2006, there were nearly 11,000 households, and more than 20,000 persons sampled.Some of the many topics include household composition, occupational biographies, employment, earnings, health and satisfaction indicators. Specific conditions apply for the use of these data for secondary analysis in the EUROLAB.

In addition our EUROLAB website "Links to context information" provides a list of international and longitudinal data sets such as the PISA survey from the OECD and data from the British Household Panel Study (BHPS).