The National Data Program for the Social Sciences has been conducted since 1972 by NORC, A Social Science Research Center at the University of Chicago, with the support of the National Science Foundation. This program has had two main goals:
Data on social change in the United States is collected as part of the General Social Survey (GSS). The GSS has been conducted every year or two since 1972. It is the only full-probability, personal-interview survey designed to monitor changes in both social characteristics and attitudes currently being conducted in the United States. Hundreds of trends have been tracked since 1972. In addition, since the GSS adopted questions from earlier surveys, trends can be followed for up to 70 years.
Among the topics covered are civil liberties, crime and violence, intergroup tolerance, morality, national spending priorities, psychological well-being, social mobility, and stress and traumatic events. Altogether the GSS is the single best source for sociological and attitudinal trend data covering the United States.
Cross-national data are collected as part of the International Social Survey Program (ISSP). ISSP was established in 1984 by NORC and other social science institutes in the United States, Australia, Great Britain, and West Germany. The ISSP collaboration has now grown to include 41 nations (the founding four plus Austria, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Cyprus, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Finland, Flanders, France, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Japan, Korea (South), Latvia, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, the Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Turkey, Uruguay, and Venezuela). The ISSP is the largest program of cross-national research in the social sciences. For more information on the ISSP, visit its Web site: www.issp.org.