British Social Attitudes, 1983-

Archive Collection
  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 1956 BSAS
  • Dates of Creation
      1983- [ongoing]
  • Name of Creator
  • Language of Material
      English.
  • Physical Description
      Electronic data of approximately 10 MBs for each year of the survey.
      Most years are available in a number of formats including SPSS, STATA and ASCII tab-delimited. The data can be converted to other formats such as SAS. Each year usually has one data file.Documentation is primarily supplied in Adobe Acrobat PDF format.Most years are available in a number of formats including SPSS, STATA and ASCII tab-delimited. The data can be converted to other formats such as SAS. Each year usually has one data file.Documentation is primarily supplied in Adobe Acrobat PDF format.
  • Direct Link

Scope and Content

The BSA series is held at the UK Data Archive under generic study number 33168. The questionnaire has two parts, one administered and one left for self-completion and later return. Each year the interview questionnaire contains a number of `core' questions. These cover major topic areas such as defence, the economy, labour market participation and the welfare state. The majority of these questions are repeated in most years, if not every year. In addition, a wide range of background and classificatory questions is always included. The remainder of the questionnaire is devoted to a series of questions (modules) on a range of social, economic, political and moral issues - some asked regularly, others less often. Cross-indexes of those questions asked more than once appear in the reports.

As an example, in the 2000 survey, information was collected on a number of social issues including the following: political attitudes, democracy and political participation, constitutional change, social trust, public spending and welfare, health care, labour market issues, cohabitation and marriage, teenage pregnancies, education, transport and genetics. Demographic data were also collected. The topic of the ISSP element of the BSA questionnaire was 'environment'.

Data is supplied at the individual level and geographical identifiers include:Countries; Counties; Scottish Regional Councils; Local Authority Districts; Parliamentary Constituencies; Postcode Sectors; Standard Regions; Wards; Government Office Regions.

Administrative / Biographical History

The British Social Attitudes (BSA) survey series began in 1983, and has been conducted every year since, except in 1988 and 1992 when the core-funding from the Sainsbury Family Charitable Trusts was devoted to conducting the British Election Study (BES) survey series. However, for reasons of continuity, in 1997 a scaled-down BSA was also fielded in addition to the BES. Core-funding for BSA is supplemented by financial support from a number of sources (including government departments, the ESRC and other research foundations), but final responsibility for the coverage and wording of the annual questionnaires rests with the National Centre for Social Research (formerly Social and Community Planning Research).

The series is designed to produce annual measures of attitudinal movements which will complement large-scale government surveys such as the General Household Survey and the Labour Force Survey, which deal largely with facts and behaviour patterns, as well as the data on party political attitudes produced by the polls. One of its main purposes is to allow the examination of the relative rates at which attitudes, in respect of a range of social issues, change over time. Some questions are asked regularly, others less often.

Between 1984 and 1986 the ESRC funded the introduction of a panel element into the series, enabling about half (about 700) of the first year's respondents to be re-interviewed with a slightly adapted questionnaire. Modules within surveys since 1985 allow cross-national comparisons. This is possible as a result of an international initiative funded by the Nuffield Foundation and known as the International Social Survey Programme (ISSP).

Arrangement

Component studies of data series are held and supplied separately, usually as annual datasets.

Conditions Governing Access

Available to UK Data Archive registered users.

Acquisition Information

National Centre for Social Research

Note

Sources for the information in this record include the UK Data Archive catalogue records.

Record created by Karen Dennison, UK Data Archive.

Other Finding Aids

UK Data Archive web pages:

Conditions Governing Use

Users are required to agree to certain conditions of use, including those governing reproduction and those relating to citation, acknowledgement and disclaimer for publications.

Appraisal Information

All datasets available from the UK Data Archive have been reviewed by an Acquisitions Review Committee.

Accruals

Data will continue to be received on an annual basis for the foreseeable future.

Related Material

Related datasets held at the UK Data Archive are listed in the appropriate UK Data Archive online catalogue records and include:

  • The Northern Ireland Social Attitudes Survey (NISA) (held under generic study number 33235) conducted annually from 1989 to 1996. It was succeeded in 1998 by the Northern Ireland Life and Times Survey (NILT) (held under generic study number 33312), and the Young Life and Times Survey (YLT) series (held under generic study number 33313). YLT surveys young people aged 12-17 living in the households of adults interviewed for NILT.
  • The Young People's Social Attitudes Survey (YPSA), conducted in 1994, (study number 3629) and 1998 (study number 4231) was designed to explore the attitudes and values of children and young people, and where possible to make comparisons with those held by adults in the BSA survey. The sample was drawn from those aged 12-19 years living in the households of adults interviewed for the 1994 and 1998 BSA surveys.

Bibliography

References and publications by principal investigators and resulting from secondary analysis are listed in the UK Data Archive online catalogue records.

Geographical Names