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General Social Survey Competition

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NSF 24-537

Important information for proposers

All proposals must be submitted in accordance with the requirements specified in this funding opportunity and in the NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) that is in effect for the relevant due date to which the proposal is being submitted. It is the responsibility of the proposer to ensure that the proposal meets these requirements. Submitting a proposal prior to a specified deadline does not negate this requirement.


The General Social Survey (GSS) is a nationally representative 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 context.

Since its inception, the GSS has completed 34 in-person, cross-sectional surveys of the adult household population of the United States with response rates that exceed 50 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.

Several innovations have been initiated over the past 15 years, most of which warrant continuation. Most significantly, the GSS has been exploring a substantial use of web mode while maintaining the integrity of the time series. The 2022 and 2024 surveys used web mode in various combinations with face-to-face administration for purposes of testing and comparison. A collaboration with the American National Election Studies (ANES) was initiated for the 2020 election and continued for the 2024 election. Other innovations are linkages with administrative data made possible by asking respondents for permission (since 2018) and use of post-stratification weights (since 2020).

The Research Infrastructure in the Social and Behavioral Sciences Program (RISBS) in the Directorate for Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences expects to make one award for the next four-year funding cycle, fiscal years 2025-2028, to support the 2026 and 2028 GSS and the U.S. component of the ISSP survey. We anticipate an award in the range of $14 million and at most $16 million over four years to support two waves of data collection, dissemination activities, and outreach. The expected starting date is August 2025.

Program contacts

Joseph M. Whitmeyer
Program Director
jwhitmey@nsf.gov (703) 292-7808 SBE/SES
Lee D. Walker
Program Director
lwalker@nsf.gov (703) 292-7174 SBE/SES

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