International Social Survey Programme

The ISSP is a continuing annual programme of cross-national collaboration on surveys covering topics important for social science research.

Social Attitudes Survey New Zealand

COMPASS has run the ISSP survey for New Zealand since 2013. The ISSP is a continuing annual programme of cross-national collaboration on surveys covering topics important for social science research ( It brings together pre-existing social science projects and coordinates research goals, thereby adding a cross-national, cross-cultural perspective to the individual national studies. ISSP researchers especially concentrate on developing questions that are meaningful and relevant to all countries, and can be expressed in an equivalent manner in all relevant languages. There are 48 countries that contribute data to the ISSP. COMPASS became a member officially in 2016. We have rebranded the survey as the Social Attitudes Survey New Zealand for an audience unfamiliar with the ISSP.

The data sets and metadata for all of the ISSP surveys for New Zealand can be downloaded from our area of the University's Figshare repository at The surveys from 1991 to 2010 were run by Professor Phil Gendall, out of the Department of Marketing at Massey University, an impressive achievement.

Further specific information on the surveys that we as COMPASS have run has come substantially from summer students that we have been privileged to host over the years, as well as from COMPASS staff. These have included efforts to apply survey weights to the data sets, as well as ensuring that we meet the requirements of the international body, especially in terms of the derivations of demographic variables.

We have now started to offer full online visualisations of New Zealand's ISSP data through R Shiny. Please see links for each year down the page. We are also constructing these for the surveys from 1991–2010 from before COMPASS took over the series, and these will be linked here when they are ready. We also give direct links to the associated Figshare holdings for each year, allowing easiest citation of use of the study and its data.

2019: Social Inequalities

We are currently preparing for the 2019 edition of the survey, which covers social inequalities, last seen in the study in 2009.

2018: Religion

The 2018 edition of the survey provided an update on people's attitudes towards and experiences of religion, which the ISSP previously covered in 2008 and 1998.

ISSP2018: Explore the data

2017: Social Networks

The 2017 survey covered social networks, in terms of friends and support groups rather than the online offerings of today, one of the rarer topics in the ISSP, having been last considered in 2001, and before that in 1986, before New Zealand had its own version of the survey. This 2017 iteration was funded by the Jeanette Crossley Foundation for Loneliness Across the Life Course.

2016: Role of Government

The 2016 survey discussed the role of government, allowing, among other things, followup on the New Zealand flag referendum, and asking people's opinions on other potential hot topics for that could feasibly go to referendum. We also had two summer students working on the data from this survey, including documenting the survey methodology and making modifications to submit our New Zealand data to the international archive, for the first time as COMPASS.

2015: Work Orientations & 2014: Citizenship

We did not manage to run the survey in 2014 and resolved to combine the 2014 and 2015 modules into one survey early in the latter year, with funding support from the University of Auckland's Business School and the New Zealand European Union Centres Network. The timing was convenient for including a question on the matter of changing the New Zealand flag, which was then written up, as below. The work orientations module was utilised for PhD research, comparing results to those from the 2005 and 1997 surveys for New Zealand. This also involved creating weights for the earlier surveys based on census proportions by age group, gender, and ethnicity.

2013: National Identity

This was the first survey we ran in this series, building on our experience from the 2011 New Zealand Election and Referendum Study, which was a much bigger undertaking.

1991–2010: The Massey Years

Very impressively, Professor Phil Gendall of Massey University ran the ISSP survey for New Zealand every year from 1991 to 2010. We have since archived the data from these surveys along with our own more recent studies, and we have even constructed R shiny visualisations for the entire series.