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II.3.5. Central European Social Survey

IDUB Programme Objective(s)

  • II.3 Improving the capacity to cooperate by increasing research capabilities

Name of POB/activity group



The main goal of the activity is to create a unique data resource on the societies of Central and Eastern Europe and the most important social processes taking place in the region. The action consists of two pillars – carrying out the Central European Social Survey panel two times, and implementing two supplementary surveys: the Polish part of the International Social Survey Program (ISSP) and the Polish Prejudice Survey (PPS).

As part of the Central European Social Survey, two two-tiered panel studies are planned on comparable, nationwide and representative samples in Poland, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Germany, Austria and Hungary. The study is scheduled for 2021-2025 (the first study will take place in 2021-2022, and the second in 2025). The survey is cyclical, allowing for sequential comparisons between both surveys, as well as panel comparisons between the two waves of both surveys. The survey will allow for a better understanding of regional transformations – it will focus on current social challenges (including migration, historical trauma, political radicalisation, changes in thinking about democracy, intergroup relations, forms of national identities, and attitudes toward vaccination against COVID-19) and will be unique a source of knowledge for researchers from many academic disciplines. It will also enable a better understanding of the processes taking place in the region. The survey will be carried out in a participatory form, and will contain modules selected in a competition from among proposals submitted by teams from various units of the University of Warsaw.

List of thematic modules selected in the competition, to be implemented in the first study (2021-2022):

  1. Acceptance of myths about rape in the light of the theory of system justification – Kamilla Bargiel-Matusiewicz (Faculty of Psychology, University of Warsaw)
  2. Sizes of punitive attitudes towards violence – Paweł Ostaszewski (Center for Criminological Analysis, University of Warsaw)
  3. The importance of social capital for the development of social services in technological transformation – Beata Łopaciuk-Gonczaryk (Faculty of Economic Sciences, University of Warsaw)
  4. Religion – Hope – Democracy – Elżbieta Ciżewska-Martyńska (Institute of Applied Social Sciences, University of Warsaw)
  5. Local identification and openness to internal migrants: the role of national identification and trust – Zuzanna Brunarska (Center for Migration Research, University of Warsaw)
  6. Employment uncertainty in the era of digital transformation – Katarzyna Śledziewska (DELab UW)
  7. Comparative study of reading in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe – Magdalena Paul (Faculty of Journalism, Information and Book Studies, University of Warsaw)

An additional element of the project is the implementation of the International Social Survey Program (ISSP) on a representative Polish sample. ISSP is an international research program covering a variety of topics in the field of social sciences. In 2021, ISSP will be implemented under Action II.3.5. – Central European Social Survey. The fieldwork will consist of two main modules. In 2025, a study will be conducted in Poland, including ISSP modules supplemented with the next edition of the Polish Prejudice Survey (PPS), i.e., a diagnosis of the intergroup attitudes of Poles.

The activity of the Central European Social Survey also includes the creation of a new field of MA studies, i.e., the Social Research Methods program. The aim of the Social Research Methods specialisation is to educate its graduates with skills which are useful in planning research and analysing data in the field of social sciences. These skills are necessary in order to conduct scientific research in the fields of social and political psychology, empirical sociology, and political science, and also highly useful in areas such as the psychology of individual differences, clinical and health psychology, personality psychology, economics, public health, and migration research. These skills are also widely used by commercial institutions (e.g., public opinion research centers), public administration institutions, or non-governmental organizations collecting data and using it in their activities. Graduates of this study program will be able to use the data of the Central European Social Survey, along with the Polish edition of ISSP in their research, analyses and professional work.


Data from representative surveys allow gaining significant knowledge about social processes. The University of Warsaw has been an important centre of such research for many years. The Institute of Social Studies of the University of Warsaw carried out the Polish General Social Survey, as well as the international comparative study International Social Survey Program (ISSP). At the Faculty of Psychology of the University of Warsaw, the nationwide Polish Prejudice Survey is carried out in a four-year cycle. The most important comparative studies of this type, such as the European Social Survey (ESS) or the World Values Study, are the basis of numerous scientific publications in the most prestigious scientific journals. They also provide vital knowledge for practical activities, policies, and interventions. Currently, scientific publications appearing in leading scientific journals in the field of social sciences (e.g., PNAS or Science) are based on the results of comparative research conducted on large samples.

Many of the socio-political, cultural, economic, and psychological processes are unique to the region of Central and Eastern Europe. This region, once highly ethnically diverse, is one of the most homogeneous in Europe, today. Many countries face similar challenges: populism, increasing social inequalities, low trust, conflicts over collective memory, historical trauma, complex relations with neighbours, and intergroup relations. So far, there have been no dedicated comparative studies that would allow to capture the specificity of the region by comparing individual countries to each other. The proposed activities will therefore constitute a unique undertaking that will allow for a better understanding of the region of Central and Eastern Europe.

The project will also enable the creation of a repository of data collected as part of surveys, based on the unique Social Data Archive at the University of Warsaw.

Tasks under the project

  1. Creation of a project group – an interdisciplinary research team including sociologists, social psychologists and other experts from various fields, based on cooperation within the 4EU+ Alliance and existing regional contacts.
  2. Development of the core of the Central European Social Survey.
  3. Development of the Polish version of the ISSP survey modules and selected blocks of the Polish Prejudice Survey to be implemented in the form of a stationary survey.
  4. Announcement of the competition for thematic modules included in the survey (competition open to teams from various units of the University of Warsaw).
  5. Double fieldwork for the core survey (in 2021 and 2025).
  6. The panel element (second measurement) conducted in 2022 and 2025, on respondents participating in the survey.
  7. In each edition of the research, thematic modules devoted to topics such as: migration, trust, social inequalities, public policies, the rule of law, historical trauma, or hate speech. Thematic modules will be created by teams from other units of the University of Warsaw.
  8. Harmonisation of survey data as part of the Social Data Archive as part of the Open Science policy.
  9. Cooperation with foreign partners in the creation of the main tools, the implementation of the study, and in the analysis of the results of the study (including the University of Heidelberg and the ELTE University in Budapest)
  10. Statistical analyses of data obtained in surveys, preparation of partial research reports.
  11. Public presentation of research results, through microconferences open to scientists and stakeholders.
  12. A Social Research Methods master’s study program, based on the analysis of survey data, preparing young staff for quantitative analysis of survey data.
  13. Analytical workshops for PhD students and advanced students, based on data obtained during the project, conducted by the most distinguished methodologists and statisticians from leading research universities.

Coordinating unit

  • Faculty of Psychology

Entities involved in implementation

  • Institute for Social Studies
  • The Centre of Migration Research