National Social Science Survey

The National Social Science Surveys are a series of major multi-purpose survey conducted by researchers at the Australian National University from 1984 to 2001, measuring a wide range of variables of interest in the social sciences, particularly sociology, political science and labour economics. Surveys typically included some 35 pages of questions on attitudes and values and about 25 pages of detailed background and demographic questions. The data are representative of the non-institutionalised population aged 18 years and over, capable of being interviewed in English, in all States and Territories of Australia.

The International Social Survey Programme

In addition to providing representative Australian data, the NSSS studies also formed part of the International Social Survey Programme, a continuing annual programme of cross-national collaboration on surveys covering topics important for social science research. Parallel studies were run in countries around the world (now up to 47 countries), and the international modules of the NSSS were conducted to be directly comparable with these other surveys. Since it’s inception in 1984, the ISSP has aimed to collect precisely comparable data which reveal similarities and differences between countries on social attitudes, values and politics. Each year, participating nations field a a short self-completion survey module, 15 minute supplements to the regular national survey which add a cross-national perspective to the individual, national studies. The same questions are asked in all countries, with some omissions and occasional variations in question wording and code categories due to language differences. Comparative data from all countries are then processed and distributed by the GESIS Data Archive, the host archive for the ISSP data.


Datasets available from the Australian Data Archive are hosted on the National Social Science Survey Dataverse.