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Center for the Study of Politics and Society

The Center for the Study of Politics and Society (CSPS) focuses on the investigation of societal change. The National Data Program for the Social Sciences is the CSPS’s largest component and its major activity is the regular collection and distribution of the General Social Survey (GSS) and its allied surveys in the International Social Survey Program. The well-respected GSS, which has been conducted 29 times since 1972, tracks and develops models to explain societal change.

The National Data Program for the Social Sciences (NDPSS) is a highly productive social indicators, infrastructure, and data-diffusion program. It has three basic purposes:

  • Gathering data on American society in order to monitor and explain trends and constants in attitudes, behaviors, and attributes.
  • Gaining fresh perspectives on American society by comparing the United States to other societies, and developing cross-national models of understanding human society.
  • Making high-quality data easily accessible to scholars, students, and others with minimal cost and waiting.

The NDPSS accomplishes all of these purposes through its work with the GSS and the International Social Survey Program (ISSP).

In 1984 the NDPSS and NORC co-founded the ISSP, which has conducted annual surveys from 1985 to the present and has had 57 participating countries. Other cross-national research includes the International Mental Health Stigma Study and studies of terrorist attacks in the U.S. and Spain. 

The CSPS also carries out considerable research on religion in general and religious change in particular. The work of the late Andrew Greeley on the sociology of religion includes research on evangelicals, images of God, trends in belief in life after death, and many other aspects. Tom W. Smith has done studies on the incidence and nature of spiritual transformations, the decline of Protestantism in the U.S., and religious change around the world.

Special Expertise

  • International
  • Democracy and Governance
  • Special Populations
    • Ethnic Minorities
  • Religion
  • Marriage
  • Data Collection and Management
  • Dissemination 

Representative Projects

General Social Survey (GSS). Since 1972, the General Social Survey (GSS) has been monitoring societal change and studying the growing complexity of American society. The GSS is NORC’s longest running project, and one of its most influential. More

National Data Program for the Social Sciences (NDPSS). The National Data Program for the Social Sciences (NDPSS) is a highly productive social indicators, infrastructure, and data-diffusion program. More

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Resources

​Learn more at the General Social Survey (GSS) website

Report on the International Workshop on Using Multi-level Data from Sample Frames, Auxiliary Databases, Paradata and Related Sources to Detect and Adjust for Nonresponse Bias in Surveys. Click here to read.

The online journal, Public Opinion Pros, is no longer published. Acces archived issues.

Contacts

Tom W. Smith

(773) 256-6288

Senior Staff

Tom W. Smith

Tom W. Smith
Senior Fellow and Director

Research Associates

Michael Hout, New York University

Jibum Kim, Sungkyunkwan University

Peter V. Marsden, Harvard University