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General Social Survey (GSS) Competition

This program has been archived.

Name Email Phone Room
Patricia  E. White (703) 292-8762   


Solicitation  08-506

Important Information for Proposers

ATTENTION: Proposers using the Collaborators and Other Affiliations template for more than 10 senior project personnel will encounter proposal print preview issues. Please see the Collaborators and Other Affiliations Information website for updated guidance.

A revised version of the NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) (NSF 18-1), is effective for proposals submitted, or due, on or after January 29, 2018. Please be advised that, depending on the specified due date, the guidelines contained in NSF 18-1 may apply to proposals submitted in response to this funding opportunity.




The General Social Survey (GSS) is a nationally representative personal interview survey of the United States adult population that collects data on a wide range of topics: behavioral items such as group membership and participation; personal psychological evaluations including measures of well-being, misanthropy, and life satisfaction; attitudinal questions on such public issues as crime and punishment, race relations, gender roles, and spending priorities; and  demographic characteristics of respondents and their parents.  The GSS has provided data on contemporary American society since 1972, serving as a barometer of social change and trends in attitudes, behaviors, and attributes of the United States adult population.  In 1984, the GSS stimulated cross-national research by collaborating with Australia, Britain, and Germany to develop data collection programs modeled on the GSS.  This program of comparative cross-national research, called the International Social Survey Program (ISSP), now includes 43 nations and enables researchers and analysts to place findings and trends from the United States within a comparative perspective. 

Since its inception, the GSS has completed 26 in-person, cross-sectional surveys of the adult household population of the United States with response rates that exceed 70 percent. The survey is currently fielded biennially.  Data from the GSS are made available to scholars, students and the public for research, analysis and educational activities within 12 months of data collection.

The 2006 GSS initiated two innovations that shape the conduct of future surveys.  First, it gathered the baseline sample for a GSS panel component, with a sub-sample of cases to be re-interviewed in 2008, 2010 and 2012. Second, the GSS "core" questions (items that appear regularly on surveys) were translated into Spanish and administered in either English or Spanish, as needed, beginning with the 2006 administration.  It is anticipated that this practice will continue in future surveys.

The Sociology Program in the Directorate for Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences expects to make one award for the next four-year funding cycle, fiscal years 2009-2012, to support the 2010 and 2012 GSS and the U.S. component of the ISSP survey. We anticipate that NSF will award in the range of $10 million and at most $15 million, over four years (approximately $2.5 million, but not more than $3.75 million per year) to support two waves of data collection and dissemination activities.  The expected starting date is November 2008.

What Has Been Funded (Recent Awards Made Through This Program, with Abstracts)

Map of Recent Awards Made Through This Program