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ESS3 — Result In Brief

Project ID: 1615
Funded under: FP6-SOCIETY

A window into changing values and attitudes

The European social survey has come a long way in defining standards for social and cultural attitudes and values. Resulting trends will be of important benefit to researchers and in aiming for a better quality of life.
A window into changing values and attitudes
As Europe grows and its identity evolves, it is important for researchers, economists and academicians to understand how European values, cultural perspectives, social structures and attitudes are changing.

The EU-funded project 'European social survey round 3' (ESS3) conducted an extensive survey on Europe's social, political and moral climate. It aimed to outline standards for measuring attitudes as well as social and attitudinal indicators in line with economic ones. In other words, the ESS has documented aspects of the European condition that haven't been adequately addressed so far.

Launched in 2001, the survey just saw the completion of its third round which sought to collate data from organisations and individuals and during previous rounds. Its ongoing mission has been to identify trends regarding continuity and change in values and attitudes. This is a major challenge considering the differences inherent in EU Member States on a cultural and political level. Yet this also renders Europe a natural laboratory for overcoming these challenges.

The European Science Foundation holds the ESS in very high esteem, one that is vital for cross-national measurement and precise in its undertakings. In addition, the ESS fills the gaps on shifts in social attitude, especially in areas that the statistical office of the EU (Eurostat) does not cover.

With its latest round, the ESS has upgraded standards of measuring social attitude so that trends in social values can be compared with similar data on behaviour and population movements. This is especially important since current European indicators in surveys are leaning more towards socioeconomic issues rather than socio-political ones. While they do address poverty, income and exclusion, they do not adequately tackle other important aspects such as health, life satisfaction and absence of the fear of crime.

The ESS has provided an opportunity to change this, and its outcomes will undoubtedly yield a more accurate picture of changing values and attitudes across the continent.

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