British Social Attitudes Survey Frequently Asked Questions
Which years of
the BSA are available?
Separate datasets are available for each year from 1983 onwards, excluding 1988
and 1992. Also available are British Social Attitudes Survey Panel Study 1983-1986
(study number 2197) and British Social Attitudes Survey 1983-1989 (study number
2824). The latter is only available as a CD-ROM collection including SPSS data
files, frequency distributions and codebooks. This is an ongoing survey and
supplied annually. For an up-to-date list of available datasets, please refer
to the Dataset
What format is
the data available in?
Most years of the BSA are available
in SPSS, STATA and ASCII format. The CD product for the years 1983-89 (SN 2824)
comes in SPSS format.
Where can I
obtain statistics and tables from the BSA?
A list of reports are shown on the National Centre for Social Research (NATCEN)
Attitudes publications pages. The reports should also be available from
academic libraries. The technical reports contain detailed information about
the sample, data collection and response, weighting, sampling errors and so
on. The other reports, published annually as a book, summarise and interpret
data from that survey year as well as making comparisons with findings from
the previous surveys.
At what geography
can I analyse the data?
The data is available for a range of geographical levels (depending on the year),
including Government Office Region, Standard Statistical Region, Postcode Sector,
Parliamentary Constituency, Local Authority District, County, Health Authority
Region/District, Scottish Regional Council, wards (from1996).
Before I order, how do I find out what questions/variables
Variable lists and PDF user guides (including questionnaires) are freely available
via the Doc column in the Dataset
Are the same questions
asked each year?
One of the main purposes of the BSA survey is to allow the monitoring of patterns
of continuity and change. 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. Many were also included in the Northern Ireland Social Attitudes
Survey (held under SN:33235) conducted annually from 1989 to 1996, when it was
Between 1984 and 1986 the ESRC funded
the introduction of a panel element into the series, enabling about half (approximately
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). ISSP
modules are always contained in the self-completion part of the questionnaire.
Is there a more
There is a
generic FAQ for all surveys available.