Joint Programming Initiative

More Years, Better Lives

The Potential and Challenges of Demographic Change

British Social Attitudes (BSA)
British Social Attitudes (BSA)

Topic
Public Attitudes towards Older Age
Wellbeing
Relevance for this Topic
Country United Kingdom
URL
More Topics

Governance

Contact information

NatCen (formally known as the National Centre for Social Research)
NatCen (formally known as the National Centre for Social Research)
35 Northampton Square
EC1V 0AX London
United Kingdom
Phone: +44 (0)207 250 1866
Fax: +44 (0)207 250 1524
Email: To contact NatCen, go to: http://www.natcen.ac.uk/about-us/contact-us
Url: http://ukdataservice.ac.uk/

Timeliness, transparency

Data are available about 15 months after the end of fieldwork

Type of data


Survey

Type of Study

Cross-section, regular

Data gathering method

Face-to-face interview (CAPI, PAPI)

Type of data


Survey

Type of Study

Cross-section, regular

Data gathering method

Face-to-face interview (CAPI, PAPI)


Access to data


Data are available from the UK Data Service (previously the Economic and Social Data Service, ESDS): http://ukdataservice.ac.uk/ The website contains detailed information on conditions of access, and it is also possible to contact the UK Data Service by phone: +44 (0)1206 872143, or by email: help@ukdataservice.ac.uk

Conditions of access


Registration is required and standard UK Data Service conditions of use apply. The depositor may be informed about usage. All users are required to agree to the terms and conditions pertaining to the use of data. These are described in the End User Licence (EUL) and agreed to when registering with the UK Data Service. Researchers based at a UK institution of higher or further education (UK HE/FE) can access the UK Data Service through their library. If you are outside the UK you will need to apply for a UK Data Archive username and password, and then register with the UK Data Service. In general, data required for non-commercial purposes can be downloaded at no cost. If data are requested on portable media, e.g. CD, handling and postage and packing fees will apply. See: ukdataservice.ac.uk/.../charges.aspx
For more information, see: ukdataservice.ac.uk/.../conditions.aspx


This depends upon the user and conditions of use.


Anonymised microdata In addition, a compilation of BSA data and documentation, including interactive descriptive statistics, is available via the Britsocat web site, maintained by the Centre for Comparative European Survey Data.


Survey data from the UK Data Service are usually available to download in SPSS, Stata and tab-delimited (suitable for use in MS Excel) formats.


English

Access to data


Data are available from the UK Data Service (previously the Economic and Social Data Service, ESDS): http://ukdataservice.ac.uk/ The website contains detailed information on conditions of access, and it is also possible to contact the UK Data Service by phone: +44 (0)1206 872143, or by email: help@ukdataservice.ac.uk

Conditions of access


Registration is required and standard UK Data Service conditions of use apply. The depositor may be informed about usage. All users are required to agree to the terms and conditions pertaining to the use of data. These are described in the End User Licence (EUL) and agreed to when registering with the UK Data Service. Researchers based at a UK institution of higher or further education (UK HE/FE) can access the UK Data Service through their library. If you are outside the UK you will need to apply for a UK Data Archive username and password, and then register with the UK Data Service. In general, data required for non-commercial purposes can be downloaded at no cost. If data are requested on portable media, e.g. CD, handling and postage and packing fees will apply. See: ukdataservice.ac.uk/.../charges.aspx
For more information, see: ukdataservice.ac.uk/.../conditions.aspx


This depends upon the user and conditions of use.


Anonymised microdata In addition, a compilation of BSA data and documentation, including interactive descriptive statistics, is available via the Britsocat web site, maintained by the Centre for Comparative European Survey Data.


Survey data from the UK Data Service are usually available to download in SPSS, Stata and tab-delimited (suitable for use in MS Excel) formats.


English


Coverage


The British Social Attitudes (BSA) survey series began in 1983, and has been conducted every year since, except in 1988 and 1992 when core funding was devoted to conducting post-election studies in the British Election Study (BES) 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 NatCen Social Research (formerly known as the National Centre for Social Research and before that, Social and Community Planning Research). A combined BSA dataset is available which includes data from 1983-1989 as well as an information retrieval program and a data extraction program. Also, in 1994, 1998 and 2003, the BSA survey was accompanied by the Young People's Social Attitudes Survey (YPSA), which was designed to explore the attitudes and values of children and young people, and where possible to make comparisons with those held by adults. The sample for YPSA was drawn from young people aged 12-19 years living in the households of adults interviewed for the BSA survey. The BSA questionnaire normally comprises two parts, one administered and one for self-completion. Each year the interview questionnaire contains a number of 'core' questions, which are repeated in most years. In addition, a wide range of background and classificatory questions is 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. Number of units sampled in 2011: 3,311 [Note: Older people are represented in this data source (approximately) according to their proportion in the population. In 2011, over one third of the total UK population (and approximately 40 per cent of the adult population 16+) was aged 50 and over.]


1983


The data includes a variety of demographic variables, including age and sex. The sample is stratified.


Multi-stage stratified random sample


Countries (England, Wales, Scotland) Government Office Regions (NUTS1)


All adults (18 and over)


Representative of all adults (18 and over) living in (private) households in Great Britain (excluding the 'crofting counties' north of the Caledonian Canal) The data include weighting variables


Every year the British Social Attitudes survey asks over 3,000 people what it's like to live in Britain and how they think Britain is run. The survey tracks people's changing social, political and moral attitudes and informs the development of public policy. It has been conducted annually since 1983 and is NatCen's longest running survey. New questions are added each year to reflect current issues, but all questions are designed with a view to repeating them periodically to chart changes over time. So far over 85,000 people have taken part.


Further links to publications may be found on the NatCen BSA webpages • Brook, L. “What drives support for higher public spending.” In Taylor-Gooby, P.F. (ed.) “Choice and Public Policy” Macmillian, London (1998): 79-101. • Bryson, C. & Jarvis, L. “Trends in attitudes to health care 1983-1998: report based on results from the British Social Attitudes surveys.” National Centre for Social Research, London (2000). ISBN 0904607550. • Jowell, R., et al. (eds.) “British Social Attitudes: the 13th report.” Dartmouth Publishing, Aldershot (1996). ISBN 1855216078. • Park, A., Clery, E., Curtice, J., et al. (eds.) “British Social Attitudes: the 29th Report.” NatCen Social Research, London, 2012 . Available at http://www.natcen.ac.uk/bsa29
. • Social and Community Planning Research. “British Social Attitudes technical report.” SCPR, London, 1983-1988. • Social and Community Planning Research. “British Social Attitudes and Northern Ireland Social Attitudes: technical report.” SCPR, London, 1989-1995.

Coverage


The British Social Attitudes (BSA) survey series began in 1983, and has been conducted every year since, except in 1988 and 1992 when core funding was devoted to conducting post-election studies in the British Election Study (BES) 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 NatCen Social Research (formerly known as the National Centre for Social Research and before that, Social and Community Planning Research). A combined BSA dataset is available which includes data from 1983-1989 as well as an information retrieval program and a data extraction program. Also, in 1994, 1998 and 2003, the BSA survey was accompanied by the Young People's Social Attitudes Survey (YPSA), which was designed to explore the attitudes and values of children and young people, and where possible to make comparisons with those held by adults. The sample for YPSA was drawn from young people aged 12-19 years living in the households of adults interviewed for the BSA survey. The BSA questionnaire normally comprises two parts, one administered and one for self-completion. Each year the interview questionnaire contains a number of 'core' questions, which are repeated in most years. In addition, a wide range of background and classificatory questions is 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. Number of units sampled in 2011: 3,311 [Note: Older people are represented in this data source (approximately) according to their proportion in the population. In 2011, over one third of the total UK population (and approximately 40 per cent of the adult population 16+) was aged 50 and over.]


1983


The data includes a variety of demographic variables, including age and sex. The sample is stratified.


Multi-stage stratified random sample


Countries (England, Wales, Scotland) Government Office Regions (NUTS1)


All adults (18 and over)


Representative of all adults (18 and over) living in (private) households in Great Britain (excluding the 'crofting counties' north of the Caledonian Canal) The data include weighting variables


Every year the British Social Attitudes survey asks over 3,000 people what it's like to live in Britain and how they think Britain is run. The survey tracks people's changing social, political and moral attitudes and informs the development of public policy. It has been conducted annually since 1983 and is NatCen's longest running survey. New questions are added each year to reflect current issues, but all questions are designed with a view to repeating them periodically to chart changes over time. So far over 85,000 people have taken part.


Further links to publications may be found on the NatCen BSA webpages • Brook, L. “What drives support for higher public spending.” In Taylor-Gooby, P.F. (ed.) “Choice and Public Policy” Macmillian, London (1998): 79-101. • Bryson, C. & Jarvis, L. “Trends in attitudes to health care 1983-1998: report based on results from the British Social Attitudes surveys.” National Centre for Social Research, London (2000). ISBN 0904607550. • Jowell, R., et al. (eds.) “British Social Attitudes: the 13th report.” Dartmouth Publishing, Aldershot (1996). ISBN 1855216078. • Park, A., Clery, E., Curtice, J., et al. (eds.) “British Social Attitudes: the 29th Report.” NatCen Social Research, London, 2012 . Available at http://www.natcen.ac.uk/bsa29
. • Social and Community Planning Research. “British Social Attitudes technical report.” SCPR, London, 1983-1988. • Social and Community Planning Research. “British Social Attitudes and Northern Ireland Social Attitudes: technical report.” SCPR, London, 1989-1995.


Linkage


There is an ongoing cross-governmental programme of work in the UK which aims to develop and improve standardised inputs and outputs for use in official statistics. This is known as harmonisation, and is led by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). While this work primarily affects government-run surveys, the results have an impact on most national UK data sources. Furthermore, harmonisation has important benefits for all researchers using these surveys, and not just government statisticians. For more information, see: www.ons.gov.uk/.../index.html
Further information on standardization is not readily available.


Data are anonymised

Linkage


There is an ongoing cross-governmental programme of work in the UK which aims to develop and improve standardised inputs and outputs for use in official statistics. This is known as harmonisation, and is led by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). While this work primarily affects government-run surveys, the results have an impact on most national UK data sources. Furthermore, harmonisation has important benefits for all researchers using these surveys, and not just government statisticians. For more information, see: www.ons.gov.uk/.../index.html
Further information on standardization is not readily available.


Data are anonymised


Data quality


In addition to unit non-response, the data include item non-response and may be subject to other errors that are typical of surveys and censuses. For more information on data quality, see the survey documentation on the UK Data Service website.


The British Social Attitudes (BSA) survey series began in 1983, and has been conducted every year since, except in 1988 and 1992.


In general, the consistency of this data source is good. For more information on data quality, see the survey documentation on the UK Data Service website.

Data quality


In addition to unit non-response, the data include item non-response and may be subject to other errors that are typical of surveys and censuses. For more information on data quality, see the survey documentation on the UK Data Service website.


The British Social Attitudes (BSA) survey series began in 1983, and has been conducted every year since, except in 1988 and 1992.


In general, the consistency of this data source is good. For more information on data quality, see the survey documentation on the UK Data Service website.


Applicability


The BSA series is designed to produce annual measures of attitudinal movements which will complement large-scale government surveys such as the General Lifestyle 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 monitoring of patterns of continuity and change, and 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. Many were also included in the Northern Ireland Social Attitudes Survey (NISA) series which ran from 1989-1996. NISA has been succeeded by the Northern Ireland Life and Times Survey (NILT) series, and the corresponding Young Life and Times Survey (YLT) series, which surveys young people aged 12-17 living in the households of adults interviewed for NILT. Both series began in 1998. The BSA 2011 questionnaires included modules covering: attitudes to social welfare, education, health, transport, housing and politics. Version A of the self-completion questionnaire included questions about health (the 2011 ISSP module). In 1985, an international survey series initiative funded by the Nuffield Foundation, known as the International Social Survey Programme (ISSP) commenced. The BSA series contributes data each year for the ISSP, and so some questionnaire modules now allow cross-national comparisons. The ISSP modules are always contained in the self-completion part of the questionnaire.

Applicability


The BSA series is designed to produce annual measures of attitudinal movements which will complement large-scale government surveys such as the General Lifestyle 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 monitoring of patterns of continuity and change, and 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. Many were also included in the Northern Ireland Social Attitudes Survey (NISA) series which ran from 1989-1996. NISA has been succeeded by the Northern Ireland Life and Times Survey (NILT) series, and the corresponding Young Life and Times Survey (YLT) series, which surveys young people aged 12-17 living in the households of adults interviewed for NILT. Both series began in 1998. The BSA 2011 questionnaires included modules covering: attitudes to social welfare, education, health, transport, housing and politics. Version A of the self-completion questionnaire included questions about health (the 2011 ISSP module). In 1985, an international survey series initiative funded by the Nuffield Foundation, known as the International Social Survey Programme (ISSP) commenced. The BSA series contributes data each year for the ISSP, and so some questionnaire modules now allow cross-national comparisons. The ISSP modules are always contained in the self-completion part of the questionnaire.


  • The information about this dataset was compiled by the author:
  • Mike Murphy
  • (see Partners)