How was the General Social Survey adapted in 2020? (Wednesday 13 October 2021) • City, University of London


The General Social Survey (GSS) is a nationwide representative survey conducted face-to-face every two years in the United States. The aim is to collect data on the attitudes and opinions of the population.

The GSS is also used in the United States to collect data for the International Social Survey Program (ISSP).

In 2020, in view of the COVID-19 pandemic, the GSS had to make major revisions to the way data is collected.

The GSS was adapted from a personal and a CAPI study to two separate studies: (i) a panel of former GSS participants from 2016 and 2018 and (ii) a cross-sectional study based on an address-based sampling method.

In both studies, a web-based tool was used as the main method of data collection, supplemented by an instrument for making phone calls.

René Bautista (NORC at the University of Chicago) will provide an overview of the methodological and operational adjustments made to switch the General Social Survey mode from face-to-face to mixed mode via web and phone, such as web Self-administration as well as the redesign of materials and mailings of the respondents on the basis of post, e-mail and telephone contacts.

The presentation will also cover the expected methodological adjustments for 2022.

Over the loudspeaker

René Bautista is Senior Scientist in the Statistics and Methodology Department at NORC and Director of the General Social Survey.

His academic training in survey methodology and the work on sources of measurement error in surveys give him a solid theoretical and scientific approach to applied survey research.

Bautista has extensive experience designing and conducting large surveys and conducting leading methodological surveys.

His main research interests are non-response, measurement errors, interviewer effects, mixed modes and data collection methods.

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