A joint project by
Institute for Social Studies of the University Of Warsaw and
Institute of Philosophy and Sociology of the Polish Academy of Sciences

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Polish General Social Surveys 1992-2002

Title of the StudyPolish General Social Surveys 1992-2002
Full name of the institution depositing the dataInstytut Studiów Społecznych Uniwersytetu Warszawskiego
Principal InvestigatorBogdan Cichomski
Contact personBogdan Cichomski, Marcin Zieliński
Data collection languageEN
Documentation languageEN

The purpose of the study

Since 1992 the Polish General Social Survey has been an ongoing program of statutory research of the Institute for Social Studies, Warsaw University (ISS UW), supported by the Committee for Scientific Research (KBN).

¨ The general goal of the PGSS is the systematic measurement of the trends and consequences of social change in Poland. The PGSS studies individual attitudes, values, orientations and social behavior, as well as measurements of socio-demographic, occupational, educational and economic differentiation of representative groups and strata in Poland. The initially annual (until 1997) and subsequently biennial cycle of repeated surveys with uniform methodological standards and identical indicators allows for systematic analysis of social trends. In this respect PGSS is a unique program for studying systemic change in Poland. PGSS data come from individual interviews with a nation-wide representative sample of adult household members. PGSS data from 1992-2002 contain 13664 respondents and 1300 variables (500 of which were repeated in different years).

¨ One of the essential goals of the program is noncommercial distribution of PGSS data-files and methodological documentation to social scientists from various specializations in Poland as well as to all interested individuals and institutions. The PGSS pursues this unique professional mission in three ways. First, data and documentation are released immediately after completion of each PGSS study. Second, cumulated data are released in a format that enables every researcher to process and analyze them on their own with the help of standard statistical computer programs. Third, ISS develops and distributes additional programs and tools to assist in the search for indicators in PGSS data. Integrated data from surveys conducted between 1992 and 2002, methodological documentation, and additional tools are distributed on standard electronic media (CD-ROM’s). Certain materials are also available on the Institute for Social Studies (ISS) and Polish Social Data Archive (ADS) web pages. The Polish Social Data Archive was established in 2004 as a result of cooperation between Institute for Social Studies and Institute of Philosophy and Sociology of the Polish Academy of Science.

¨ The next goal of the PGSS is to provide researchers in Poland with data and indicators directly comparable with results of surveys from other countries. Such data are especially valuable both in cognitive and diagnostic perspectives when researchers are trying to understand the mechanisms and consequences of social change in Poland by finding comparative references in other societies. The PGSS is realizing this mission in three ways. First, each edition of PGSS since 1992 contains topical modules from the International Social Survey Programme (ISSP), which is currently conducted in 40 countries. Certain ISSP modules are repeated every few years, which enables cross-country analysis over time. The integrated PGSS 1992-2002 data contain around 570 indicators from international ISSP surveys. Results from these surveys are distributed by ISS, as well as by international social science data archives. Second, on the basis of cooperation with the General Social Survey (GSS, National Opinion Research Center, University of Chicago) and ALLBUS (Zentrum fur Umfragen, Methoden und Analysen, Mannheim), the PGSS introduced a selected number of questions and indicators directly comparable with the results of GSS and ALLBUS surveys. Researchers interested in cross-country analysis will find in the PGSS documentation detailed information on cross-country comparable indicators. Third, since 1992 all PGSS materials and publications have been distributed in English. Thanks to that, the data and documentation are accessible to international scientists and are easier to redistribute through international data archives (among other: Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor i ZentralArchiv, Universitat zu Koeln).

¨ In 1997, the methodological part of the PGSS was extended to include experiments on question content and scale construction. Four such experiments using thirty variables were performed in 1997, 1999 and 2002 (see Appendix B). By continuing these experiments in the coming years and making data from these experiments available to the community of social scientists, the PGSS wants to contribute to a better understanding of social survey methodology and the cognitive effects of measurement tools used in social surveys.

¨ In 2002 the collaboration with other science institutions in Poland was expanded. In the PGSS questionnaire there was some free space assigned for rotated topic modules which are submitted by research teams from Poland. The costs is borne by submitting institutions. In 2002 the topic module was devoted to the psychological function of a person in the circumstances of system transformation in Poland. It was designed by two research teams from the Warsaw School of Social Psychology (SWPS) (T. Klonowicz, A. Eliasz, R. Cieslak are one team and the second team is J. Trzebinski, M. Drogosz and M. Zieba, see Appendix S).

Main topics of the study

The PGSS covers the main domains of interest of Polish and international researchers from various fields of the empirical social sciences: sociology, social psychology, political science and economics. Subjects covered by the PGSS are also of interest to more practically oriented researchers who follow systemic changes in Poland and analyze their consequences. The core PGSS, repeated since 1992, covers the following subject areas:

¨ Socio-demographic characteristics: which include social ecology, geographical mobility, marriage and family structure, as well as related individual attitudes towards family life, the situation of women, and socialization values;

¨ Individual positions in the social stratification system and social inequality, such as,

a) job status and labor situation. Job status is measured according to Polish and International occupational classifications and social prestige and socio-economic position scales are assigned to them. The respondent’s place of work is characterized in terms of ownership, branch of industry and size of workplace. Separate variables describe experiences and periods of unemployment. Indicators of job status are gathered for the respondent, his/her spouse and for his/her parents, which together measure occupational intergenerational mobility. In 1997 the PGSS started to gather new data on the respondent’s job status in his/her first job, thus extending mobility to an intra-generation dimension. In addition to the job status indicator, the PGSS collects information on subjective evaluations of workplace and occupation, the structure of individual’s values and goals, job security and satisfaction from work,

b) the level and type of respondent’s, his/her parents’ and spouse’s education, together with the perception of the role of education as a factor in social positions and in attaining success in life. In 1997 new indicators were introduced measuring periods, profile, how respondent studies, school ownership (state/private) and place as well as degrees and occupational titles obtained,

c) material situation of respondent and family, measured by individual and household incomes, dwelling situation, material goods owned, the level of debt and the savings of the household. The PGSS also contains a number of variables measuring subjective economic evaluations of satisfaction with individual incomes and the material situation of the family, as well as evaluations of the current state of and changes in the economic situation in Poland. A number of indicators were introduced for constructs of indicators of (economic) distributive justice, related to, among others, images of the just distribution of incomes and the acceptance of economic inequalities among different occupations and social strata;

¨ Evaluation of respondents’ social position and of its changes, encompassing class-strata identification, the evaluation of one’s present and past social position, a self-evaluation of occupational, material, and educational status in comparison with that of ones parents;

¨ Opinions and judgments about social structure, social inequalities and systemic changes in Poland, including assessment of factors determining success in life, creating social inequalities and determining levels of poverty and wealth;

¨ Voting behavior and preferences. As of 1992, successive PGSS editions register respondents’ declarations of their participation and choices in presidential and parliamentary elections in Poland. Currently, the data contain information on the presidential elections of 1990, 1995 and 2000 and the 1991, 1993, 1997 and 2001 parliamentary elections (additionally it includes information on the 1997 constitutional referendum);

¨ Efficacy of the political system. This topic area covers general evaluations of the efficacy of the political system and democracy, trust toward the main social and political institutions, as well as the evaluation of different criteria governing the distribution of budgetary funds for different public goals;

¨ Political and ideological orientations, including interest in politics and public life, preferred political goals, the role of government in the economy and public life, opinions on communism and socialism, self-identification on a left-right scale, tolerance toward communists, atheists and militarists and perceived international issues, such as threats to Polish independence from other countries;

¨ Religion and religiosity, questions repeated in successive surveys concern religious denomination and frequency of religious practices, strength of belief, belief in life after death, trust in the Catholic Church, evaluation of the church and denominational organizations’ influence on public life in Poland , and tolerance toward atheists;

¨ Attitudes toward contemporary ethical dilemmas (abortion, divorce, euthanasia, capital punishment) and law-abidance;

¨ Satisfaction from one’s own life in society. Subjective measures of well-being replicate classic scales of satisfaction from different domains of life (family, marriage, social, material and professional) and their importance to the individual; measures of painful and joyful experiences, the will to live and joyfulness, happiness (in different time references) as well as trust toward other people;

¨ State and evaluation of one’s own health (in addition to separate measures of smoking and alcohol consumption).

In addition separate topical modules taken from international comparative research, ISSP -- done with PGSS between 1992-2002 -- covered the following areas; social inequalities (1992), environmental protection (1993), family and social roles of women (1994 and 2002), sexual behavior (1994), national identity (1995), work attitudes (1997), opinions about the role government and state (1997), religion and religiosity (1999), repeated social inequality (1999) and social support systems (2002). Each of these modules contains approximately seventy indicators.

Unit of Analysis

a person

Sample design

Type of the sample applied in the Study

The samples selected for the PGSS 1992 – 2002 studies were independent multilevel random area samples selected from the sampling frame of the Central Statistical Office (CSO) (Glowny Urzad Statystyczny - GUS). In all studies households were selected for the sample using the procedure described below. Among the residents of household the interviewer selected one person as a respondent. The study covered only adults (persons who had attained the age of 18 at the moment of the study). The size of the sample was 2000 households in 1992 - 1995 studies and 3200 households in 1997 and 1999 studies, and 4008 in 2002 study.

1.1. The procedure for selection of households

The procedure for selecting households had several stages. In the first stage the territory of the country was divided into strata. Each city with a population over 100 thou. residents constituted a stratum (a total of 40 cities), and for the five largest cities (Warsaw, Cracow, Lodz, Poznan, Wroclaw) their districts were strata. For the other cities strata were formed by grouping cities according to a number of inhabitants. The division was based on the following size categories: under 10 thou., 10-19, 20-49 and 50-99 thou. inhabitants. For rural areas 8 regions were distinguished in 1992 – 1995 studies, and 9 regions in 1997 - 2002 studies created with group of bordered voivodeships.

The subsequent selection procedure differed for each of the three above- mentioned categories. Simple random sampling without replacement was used for metropolitan strata. As a result, for each of the strata the number of households selected was proportional to the size of the stratum.

For urban strata (cities over 100 thou. residents) a two-stage selection scheme was used. In the first phase – independently in each of the strata – the established number of the cities were selected with probabilities proportional to their size. Then a number of households was drawn in each city so that their total number would be proportional to the size of the stratum.

The sampling for rural strata was conducted in three stages. In the first phase a fixed percentage of communes was drawn with replacement from each stratum (the strata corresponded to the regions). Then in each commune selected one Census Area was drawn. Such an area is a territorial unit that includes a small village or part of a large village. In the third phase a number of households was randomly selected so that the number of households drawn in each stratum would be proportional to its size.

The number of the households in selected stratas, the number of the selected cities in urban stratas, the number of the villages (corresponding to the regions) in rural stratas makes each of the probabilities of selecting household in sampling frame the same. All of the selection phases determining the numerical size of strata and the number of units drawn used the number of households and not the number of the population.

Employing the above procedure 2000 in 1992 – 1995 and 3200 in 1997 and 1999 and 4008 in 2002 addresses of households were obtained understood here as the address of the flat (in a multifamily building) or a home address (for single family houses). This gave a national random sample of households stratified in respect to the size of the locality (in the case of cities) and the region in the case of a rural community. Because 1997, 1999 and 2002 studies are done on two ballots (two variants of the questionnaire), sample is divided into two equal and random subsamples. Both of them has got the same parameters for the sake of sampling procedure.

1.2. Selection of the respondent

The result of the above-described procedure for selection of households was a collection of 2000 addresses of households (in 1992-1995) and 3200 (in 1997, 1999). Each of the addresses contained a CSO identification symbol of the locality and its name. The urban addresses contained the name of the street, number of the house and - in multifamily buildings - the number of the flat. For rural areas in which there are no streets the name of the owner of the building was also included.

All of the addresses were transferred to specially prepared selection cards. Such a card contained the complete address and blank spaces for information about all of the persons living at the address. These blank spaces were filled in by the interviewer on the spot. He / she recorded the year and month of birth and sex of each person listed. The blanks of the selection card were filled out in order from the oldest to the youngest persons. Then the interviewer established the number of adults. This was the basis for selecting one of these persons as the respondent. A selection table was used for this purpose. The version of the selection table on each card was unique so as to ensure complete randomness in each class of households with a certain number of adults.

Geographic coverage of the sample

whole Poland
Lower age cut-off for the sample18
Upper age cut-off for the samplebrak

Data collection methods were used for the study

PGSS data were collected in face-to-face interview. After collecting the PGSS data ISSP (International Social Survey Programme) questionnaire was given to the respondent for self completion.

The total number of starting or issued names/addresses and the total number of successfully completed

starting or issued names/addresses4008
sucessfully completed2473

Substitution or replacement of respondents

not permitted

Post-stratification weight


Factors considered at construction of the post-stratified weighting factor

1. The number of adults in the respondent's household - as a procedure which corrects unequal chances to be drawn in households with different number of adults. 2. Sex 3. Age 4. Type and size of the place of respondent's residence

Weighting or post-stratification strategy used

Due to the nature of the study it was assumed that only one person in each household will be interviewed. This fact means that the probabilities of selection are inversely proportional to the number of adults in the household. This bias may be partially corrected by weighting the results by the number of adults in the household. This is a standard procedure in studies using area sampling method.

In addition, in the PGSS study we decided to use post-stratification weighting. This method serves to adapt the structure of the sample completed to the structure of the population in respect to basic social and demographic characteristics. With dissimilar response rates in different social categories (e.g., among residents of cities and rural communities), in some fragments the structure of the completed sample may deviate from the structure of the population studied. These deviations may be corrected by post-stratification weighting. The applied weighting procedure was the same in all surveys. The constructed weight variable considers two factors simultaneously: (1) different probabilities of being selected in households with a different number of adults (effect of the selection method); (2) dissimilar response rate in different social and demographic categories (effect specific for social surveys). In the case of the first factor the construction of the weight was based on information about the number of persons in the household obtained during the interview. In the second case we used statistical data on the adult population for 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1997, 1999, 2001 (Demography 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1997, 1999, 2001 Warsaw, Central Statistical Office).

In 1992 – 1999 studies the following social and demographic characteristics were considered: sex, age (divided into three categories: 18-19 years old, 30-49, and over 50) and the division of the place of residence into urban and rural. The urban population was divided into 7 categories depending on the size of the city. For the rural population we used a division into 8 regions. In sum, by combining the control features we obtained a table with 90 cells (2 sex categories, 3 age categories, 15 place of residence categories).

In 2002 the following social and demographic characteristics were considered: sex, age (divided into five categories) and size of the place of living (divided into seven categories). In sum, by combining the control features we obtained a table with 70 cells (procedure was changed because of availability of demographic data).

For each of these fields we estimated the ratio expressing the relation of the number of persons in the population to the number of persons in the sample. These ratios became the basis for the stratification part of the weight. The final stage in the construction of the weight was normalization of its value to the number of completed interviews. In this way, after weighting the data, the numerical size of the sample did not change. Such a solution was use for convenience in making statistical tests.

In case of analysis of ISSP modules or data from one ballot only it is necessary to use weight computed for each ballot separately. In the dataset such weight was computed only for 2002 study. For the previous editions (1992–1999) such weights will be computed in future.

Description of sample design

Attached to deposited documentation


Start and end dates of fieldwork

Start date2-4-1992
End date29-4-2002

Interviewers required to

make a certain number of calls/visits in different times of the same day
make a certain number of calls/visits on different days

Minimum number of contact attempts


Interviews back-checked (e.g. supervisor checks later whether interview was conducted

Yes - approximate proportion 100 %

Other information about the study

Pattern for data quotation

Manuscripts using this data file should contain the following citation:

Bogdan Cichomski (principal investigator), Tomasz Jerzynski and Marcin Zielinski. Polish General Social Surveys: machine readable data file 1992-2002. Institute for Social Studies, University of Warsaw, producer and distributor, Warsaw 2004.

Manuscripts using this codebook should contain the following citation:

Bogdan Cichomski (principal investigator), Tomasz Jerzynski and Marcin Zielinski. Polish General Social Surveys 1992?2002: cumulative codebook. Institute for Social Studies, University of Warsaw, producer and distributor, Warsaw 2004.

Generally accessible publications that refer to this data

Data distribution

Data use restrictions

no restrictions

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