CLICK HERE FOR SOME RESOURCES ON ANTI-SEMITISM, WEB SITES, ETC.

CLICK HERE TO SEE SOME OF THE FINDINGS FROM THE GENERAL SOCIAL SURVEY ABOUT PREJUDICE, TOLERANCE, AND TRUST IN SOCIETY.


 
 
THE GENERAL SOCIAL SURVEY

2011
Susan Carol Losh PhD
Department of Educational Psychology and Learning Systems
Florida State University
Tallahassee FL 32306-4453

SCROLL DOWN THIS PAGE TO SEE MORE ABOUT THE JEWISH DATABANK AT THE ROPER CENTER FOR PUBLIC OPINION.

slosh@fsu.edu

What does America really think, whether it is about prejudice--or anything else? One invaluable source is the General Social Survey (GSS) which began in 1972. Once annual, it is now conducted every other year. The GSS is a representative public opinion survey of adults in the continental United States and is part of what is called “social indicator research.” It is mostly funded by the federal government (the National Science Foundation).

The GSS is a state-of-the-art poll. It uses probability sampling and, unlike most other modern surveys, it utilizes in-person surveys rather than telephone interviews or Internet questionnaires. Its response rates are over 70 percent and among the highest in the world. The original GSS questions were repeated from earlier work by Gallup, Roper, Harris, The Survey Research Center (Michigan) and other researchers to enhance over-time comparisons. Because many earlier questions had flawed wording, the GSS tests alternative item formats in an experimental, "split-ballot" method. This allows assessments of the difference question format can make and whether new question construction can substitute for the old with little loss of meaning.

Annual case bases range from 1300 (when the GSS was done annually) to over 4000. Currently, the GSS conducts about 3000 interviews every two years (the 2008 has 2023 cases). Case bases vary on specific questions if split-ballot questions were used, but adjacent years may be combined to enlarge the case base. Interviews last about an hour. The 2010 GSS data have just been released (click here online for earlier datasets).

About one-third of the GSS questions are repeated every time. These are called "the core". Examples include detailed background characteristics: gender, age, ethnicity, religion and religiosity, income, occupation, presidential voting histories, and marital and family statistics. Several "social indicator" questions are also usually asked, for example: attitudes toward trust and society, or confidence in social institutions. Usually three topical modules comprise the remainder of the survey. Prior examples include attitudes toward gender and society, the military, and friendships. Modules in 1990, 1994, and 2000 (using some of the same questions) measure intergroup tolerance and prejudice. Items are designed to be intelligible to a national sample of respondents. While these may neglect specific local concerns, and samples of some groups (e.g., Southern Jews) are too small to generalize, the GSS allows us to "photograph" the mind of the general American public year after year. It is a national resource. Quite simply, there is no other comparable set of data.

The TOTAL General Social Survey (34 years of questions and answers, over 54,000 residents) is available on CD-ROM for $450. It is ready to analyze with versions of the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) for more advanced students. For more information on the General Social Survey, write or call the User Services Unit, The Roper Center, University of Connecticut, Box U-164, Storrs CT 06269-2164. (860) 486-5107 which holds distribution rights to the data. Email is: gssdata@ropercenter.uconn.edu

You can learn more about the General Social Survey and even analyze data online at:

http://www.norc.org/GSS+Website/Download/SPSS+Format
 

http://www.ropercenter.uconn.edu/   use General Social Survey in the search engine.

User Services Unit
The Roper Center
University of Connecticut
Homer Babbidge Library
369 Fairfield Way, Unit 2164
Storrs, CT 06269-2164

(860) 486-5107

Information about ordering the General Social Survey data and/or codebooks is available online HERE


The Roper Center for Public Opinion in 2006 partnered with Mandell L. Berman North American Jewish Data Bank, and their site can be accessed from the Roper Center front page. This is a wealth of data about North American Jews.

Or just access the databank directly HERE

Susan Carol Losh 2011
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Florida State University's Holocaust Institute