Call for Comment - General Social Survey

In 2008, we funded a small module of questions on the General Social Survey (GSS), one of the most used social science research databases in the world. Read the questions from the 2008 survey. We have just received a first draft of the collected data and are under some time constraint in deciding whether to fund a similar set of questions (or possibly different set of questions) for the 2010 GSS. We need your help!

The GSS is transitioning from a cross-section only design to a combined cross-sectional and panel design. In 2008 the GSS had a new cross-section with 2,023 cases and also 1,538 reinterviews with 2006 GSS respondents. The initial 1972-2008 data file with the new 2008 cross-section will be available the week of February 23, 2009. The attached file has the unweighted tabulations from the entrepreneurship variables. It shows about ten percent of their household sample reported that they were in the process of trying to start a business and about twelve percent of households reported owning one or more businesses. These questions were also fielded on the panel of 1,538 reinterviews with 2006 GSS respondents. That data will be available in a month or two.

Do you want a copy of the preliminary cross-sectional file? Unfortunately because of the stage of the process, I can't post that openly, but request for that file can be made directly to me by email.

Additionally, Tom Smith, the Principal Investigator for the GSS, has written a paper for the 2008 Kauffman Data Symposium which outlines the proposed direction for 2010 GSS questions. Read the paper. Unfortunately, when Tom wrote the paper he didn't have the data back from the 2008 GSS.

I will be reviewing and contemplating all of this over the coming months, having just received things this morning. As such, I throw it open to others to comment on this effort and whether it bears doing again as Tom proposes in his paper or some modified manner. This data has great potential for the research community but like all public-use data, that does not come without it's difficulties in identifying what to measure and how. In the case of the 2008 GSS questions, we were provided some very good input from Patricia Greene (and a few others she coordinated with) and borrowed very heavily from questions used in the Panel Study on Entrepreneurial Dynamics, but we need a wider set of input before we can determine our future direction with this project.

Read the Early Tabular Results - GSS.pdf (13.28 kb)

GSS Questions SectionE.pdf (13.04 kb)

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