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Hopes and Anxieties in Europe

Six Waves of the European Social Survey


Edited By Paweł B. Sztabiński, Henryk Domański and Franciszek Sztabiński

The present collection of articles is based on data from the European Social Survey (ESS) and analyses the changes in European societies. The first part of the volume is devoted to relations between legitimization, subjective well-being, voting patterns, and the role of social cohesion in determination of political culture. The second part addresses methodological questions designed to quantify the reliability and validity of certain measures in interviews, coverage errors, measurement errors, and non-response, as well as the understanding of questions in multi-country surveys in the context of the comparability between countries.
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8. Is it worthwhile reducing the non-response rate by multiplied contact attempts? The example of ESS round 5 and 6 in Poland


8.1 The problem

The trend, observed in the 1980s and 1990s, indicating a falling response rate (de Leeuw/de Heer 2002) was aggravated towards the end of the 1990s and early 2000s (Curtin/Presser/Singer 2005) and continues until today, at least in some European countries. Seven out of 16 countries participating in all rounds of the European Social Survey (ESS) conducted to date (2002–2012) have seen a more or less significant decline in response rate, and it is important to remember that the ESS project is considered to be a benchmark in survey methodology. One spectacular example is Germany where, after a period of relative stabilisation at the level of approx. 50%, the response rate fell to approx. 30% in 2010 and 2012 (respectively: 30.5% and 33.8%).

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