The Polish General Social Survey is an ongoing program of statutory research at the Institute for Social Studies of the University of Warsaw (ISS UW). The program has three main objectives. The first is the systematic, annual measurement of trends (and constants) in the social characteristics and opinions of Polish society. PGSS data come from personal interviews conducted on a national representative sample of the adult population based on a standardized questionnaire containing identical questions and indicators in an annual survey.
The second goal of the PGSS program is to supply the scientific community (and all interested persons and institutions) with fresh, accurate, and interesting data about Polish society. The data files are made available immediately after completion of each PGSS study in a form that enables researchers to process them and test their own theoretical and empirical ideas. These data are made available free of charge.
The third goal is linked with the wish to satisfy the interests of social researchers in the results of international comparative studies. These results are especially valuable if one wants to find comparative references for processes of social changes in Poland in other social and cultural contexts. Bilateral agreements of the directors of the PGSS program with the directors of similar programs in the United States (GSS) and Germany (ALLBUS) have established equivalent questions, measurements, and indicators characterizing these three societies and repeatable in annual surveys. The team of PGSS and the Institute for Social Studies will prepare and make available separate data files containing comparable variables and social indicators from the annual surveys in Poland and the USA and--every two years--in Germany (with a separate subsample for the former GDR).
The idea of linking the PGSS program with international comparative studies is also carried out through the participation of PGSS and the Institute for Social Studies in the International Social Survey Programme (ISSP). Every year the PGSS study contains an additional problem module worked out by the international ISSP team and conducted in 21 countries.