The Australian Survey of Social Attitudes (AuSSA) is Australia’s main source of data for the scientific study of the social attitudes, beliefs and opinions of Australians, how they change over time, and how they compare with other societies.
The survey is used to help researchers better understand how Australians think and feel about their lives. It produces important information about the changing views and attitudes of Australians as we move through the 21st century. Similar surveys are run in other countries, so data from AuSSA survey also allows us to compare Australia with countries all over the world.
AuSSA is also the Australian component of the International Social Survey Project (ISSP). The ISSP is a cross-national collaboration on surveys covering important topics. Each year, survey researchers in some 40 countries each do a national survey using the same questions. Here are some examples of surveys in other countries that are the equivalent to AuSSA:
- General Social Survey (GSS), United States of America
- German General Social Survey (ALLBUS), Germany
- British Social Attitudes, Great Britain
The ISSP focuses on a special topic each year, repeating that topic from time to time. The topic for 2017 is "Social Networks and Social Resources". This is the third time this has been the topic of the survey, having previously been the theme for the survey in 1986 and 2001.
Data collection for the AuSSA 2017 is due to begin in May 2017, and due to complete in May 2018.
How will participants be selected?
AuSSA aims to survey a representative sample of adult Australians. The fairest way of doing that is to draw a random sample from the Australian Electoral Roll. This means every Australian citizen has an equal chance of having their views included in the survey, and means that researchers are able to use statistical techniques to make inferences about Australian society overall on the basis of characteristics of the sample.
We will apply to the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) to supply name and address information for the project in accordance with Item 3 of subsection 90B(4) of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918.
In 2017, we plan to randomly select 5000 citizens from the electoral roll. Each of them will be posted an explanatory letter, followed by a questionnaire booklet and reply paid envelope. Up to three reminder mailings will be sent for participants who do not return a booklet. We hope at least 1200 will return a completed questionnaire.
Questions asked of respondents will include:
- Do you know anyone who is a lawyer, mechanic, bus driver?
- Who should primarily care for the sick, or the elderly?
- How often have your participated in organised groups, clubs or associations?
- Who would you turn to for help for jobs you couldn't do yourself, if you had to stay in bed sick, or for advice about family problems?
- How often have you felt isolated or left out?
- How much trust do you have in Australia's courts and major private companies?
- Do you feel that your family, relatives or friends make too many demands on you?
- How often do you communicate with your parents, siblings, friends?
Access to results from AuSSA 2017
AuSSA data will be available to the public on the Australian Data Archive site in late 2018.
For more information:
Tel. 1800 122 251 (free call)