The spsTREND lab is a resource available to the Department of Social and Political Sciences of the University of Milan for conducting some of the research activities planned under the 2018-2022 government award project Departments of Excellence.
Research topics targeted by spsTREND include social transformation and political changes in Italy and Europe. These are investigated using individual data collected through large-scale surveys on representative samples of the target population, such as the European Social Survey, the World Values Survey/European Value Study, the International Social Survey Programme, the Comparative Study of Electoral Systems, the Comparative Candidates Study and surveys related to the ERCS-REScEU project.
The laboratory was first proposed by Paolo Segatti, Ferruccio Biolcati Rinaldi, Marco Maraffi, Cinzia Meraviglia and Cristiano Vezzoni. The team has gradually grown to include other members of the department with diversified expertise, performing different roles in the activities.
For more information about the activities conducted by spsTREND, please contact us!
spsTREND promotes the following activities:
- Consolidating research activities over time in accordance with the objectives set out by the 2018-2022 government award project.
- Conducting all stages of the planned public opinion polls.
- Sharing the results with the public, the media and the scientific community through multiple forms of communication
- Promoting training sessions and workshops on the survey topics.
- Developing research approaches for content and methodological issues related to social and political research on individual data.
- Submitting research projects to Italian and European calls through the collaborative networks of international surveys.
- Building a relevant and comprehensive infrastructure for social research based on individual data for the benefit of the broader community of Italian and foreign social scientists.
- Promoting synergies with similar international research facilities and developing regular interaction around topics of interest with national research institutes, such as the Italian National Institute of Statistics, the National Institute for the Analysis of Public Policies and the Italian Data Protection Authority, as well as regular contacts with private companies performing public opinion polls and their umbrella association, the Assirm.
spsTREND ensures that Italy takes part in some of the waves and rounds of the most important international surveys: the World Values Survey/European Value Study, the International Social Survey Programme. For such surveys, spsTREND is responsible for the data collection, the full exploitation of the data’s scientific potential, and the dissemination of results.
spsTREND will also disseminate the Italian data from the Comparative Study of Electoral Systems and of the Comparative Candidates Study data, collected from national political elections, as well as data regarding Integration and Solidarity in Europe from the ERC- REScEU project.
World Values Survey (WVS)- European Values Study (EVS)
The two most widespread sample surveys with an international scope concerning the study of people’s values are the World Values Survey (WVS) and the European Values Study (EVS).
Six waves of the WVS have been completed since 1981 (1981-84, 1990-94, 1995-98, 1999-2004, 2005-09, and 2010-2014), with participating countries from all continents. The sixth wave, which took place between 2010 and 2014, involved over 60 countries. The seventh wave altogether involves about 80 countries, with the data collection beginning in 2017 and ending by January 2020. Italy – which has so far only taken part in the fifth wave of 2005 – completed data collection for the seventh wave in January 2019.
The EVS has been investigating the values and attitudes of European citizens every 9 years since 1981. The complete data sets of the first four waves (1981, 1990, 1999, and 2008) are currently available. Italy has always been amongst the participating countries. The fourth wave of 2008 involved over 70,000 respondents in 47 European countries. The data collection for the fifth wave began in 2017 and was completed in about 30 countries, including Italy. All countries involved in the fifth wave concluded the survey by the end of 2019, and the complete data sets are now available.
Together, the University of Milan and the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore of Milan created the Italian version of the WVS seventh wave and EVS fifth wave (WVS/EVS – Italy 2017/2018).
The last wave covered the following topics:
- Attitudes towards work
- Attitudes towards gender, family, marriage, children, homosexuality
- Politics, the state, democracy, national identity, electoral behaviour, Europe
- Attitudes towards immigrants
- Social engagement
- Social distance
- Interpersonal trust
- Attitudes towards science
- Attitudes towards corruption
European Social Survey (ESS)
spsTREND took part in the design of Rounds 8 and 9 of the ESS (2016-2017 and 2018-2019). The spsTREND members composing the Italian ESS team (Cristiano Vezzoni, national coordinator of the mentioned rounds, Giulia Dotti Sani and Simona Guglielmi) offered a valuable contribution to the implementation of the survey.
The European Social Survey was fielded for the first time in 2002 in 22 European countries. Since then, a new round of the survey has been carried out regularly every two years (Round 9 in 2019).
The ESS was awarded the status of European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ERIC) by the European Union in 2013. ERIC status guarantees continuity over time to the research program, while also being a sign of the EU’s recognition of the strategic role played by the ESS in producing knowledge surrounding social change in Europe.
Italy had participated intermittently in the ESS (Rounds 1, 2, and 6), but it has been playing a full role once more in the ESS ERIC consortium since Round 8 (2016-2017), thanks to the efforts and funding of the National Institute for Public Policy Analysis. Italy will also participate in ESS Round 10, whose preparatory stage was launched in 2019. Data collection is expected to begin in the second half of 2021.
For more information:
- ESS ERIC website
- ESS Italy webpage
- Lomazzi, Vera, and Cristiano Vezzoni. 2018. “Consolidamento e innovazione nelle survey transnazionali europee: (Consolidation and innovation in European cross-national surveys).” Sociologia e ricerca sociale, 116 (2): 143-158. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.3280/SR2018-116012.
Data can be accessed and simple analyses can be carried out online through the ESS website.
International Social Survey Programme (ISSP)
The International Social Survey Programme (ISSP) is an important research program focused on cultural, social, and political change both in Europe and worldwide (http://www.issp.org). The ISSP is developed by a network of universities and research institutes. Since its first fielding in 1985, over a million respondents in 57 countries have taken part in ISSP surveys. A repeated cross-sectional research design with probability sampling is used. Data are collected annually through face-to-face interviews. The ISSP secretariat is currently based in the GESIS-Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences, Germany, and is headed by Christof Wolf, University of Mannheim. After resuming its participation in the ISSP in 2018, Italy has taken part in ‘Religion IV’ and ‘Social Inequality V’ modules. Previously, it has participated in the 1985-1998, 2001, 2008-2009, and 2011 surveys.
The ISSP in Italy
Italy is represented in the ISSP by Andrea Pedrazzani and Federico Vegetti of the University of Milan. Italian participation in the ‘Religion IV’ and ‘Social Inequality V’ modules in 2019 and the ‘Environment IV’ and ‘Health and Healthcare II’ modules in 2021 has been funded by the ‘2018-2022 Departments of Excellence’ government award granted to the Department of Social and Political Sciences of Milan. Sampling, fieldwork, and data management are handled and monitored by the Department. For more information about the ISSP survey in Italy, please contact Andrea Pedrazzani or Federico Vegetti.
The ISPP’s main goals are to:
- Analyse stability and change in contemporary societies by studying the transformation of living conditions and the evolution of people’s opinions, attitudes and behaviours;
- Provide a survey characterised by continuity over time (the survey is carried out annually) and wideness of scope (the survey involves countries in Europe, North and South America, Africa, Asia and Oceania);
- Disseminate comparative data which meet high standards of scientific accuracy throughout the field of social sciences, in particular regarding its own forms of survey tool (questionnaires), sampling and data collection;
- Improve the exposure and dissemination of data concerning social and political change amongst scholars, policy makers, administrators and the general public.
THE ITALIAN CANDIDATE SURVEY
The most recent changes in the organization of political parties and in the dynamics of electoral competition have led to a growing interest in the role of individual members of political elites. Such attention to candidates and members of political parties is a response to the theoretically and methodologically justified need to analyze political phenomena without the traditional assumption of parties as unitary actors.
The Italian Candidate Survey (ICS) aims to analyze the features of the electoral offer and political class in Italy by surveying the candidates running for seats in the national parliament. To this end, a questionnaire is administered to a wide sample of running candidates on the lists for the Chamber of Deputies.
The data regard key aspects of electoral campaigning and representation: socio-demographic characteristics and career paths of the candidates, tools used during the campaign, opinions on issues at the heart of the political debate, interpretations of the role of representatives, party discipline, and level of democracy within the individual parliamentary political groups.
ICS data may usefully be compared with both mass survey data on voters and similar data regarding other countries since the ICS is a member of the Comparative Candidate Survey, a joint multi-national project with the goal of collecting data on candidates running for national parliamentary elections in over thirty countries.
The 2013 Survey
The first ICS survey took place in the aftermath of the Italian general elections of 24th-25th February 2013.
From June 2013 to September 2014, a sample of 2878 candidates was invited to answer a questionnaire, provided both in hard copy and via a dedicated webpage.
672 answers were received (23.3%), covering the main lists running in the 2013 election: Centro Democratico, Fratelli d’Italia, Lega Nord, Movimento 5 Stelle, Partito Democratico, Popolo della Libertà, Rivoluzione Civile, Scelta Civica, Sinistra Ecologia Libertà, Sudtiroler Volkspartei and Unione di Centro.
The 2018 Survey
The second ICS survey focuses on the candidates running in the elections of 4th March 2018. As in 2013, the survey sample includes candidates running for a seat in the Chamber of Deputies in one of the main lists. The survey is still underway.
Paolo Segatti, Andrea Pedrazzani, Daniela Giannetti (University of Bologna), and Luca Pinto (University of Bologna).
- Di Virgilio, Aldo and Paolo Segatti (eds). 2016. La rappresentanza politica in Italia. Candidati ed elettori nelle elezioni politiche del 2013. Bologna: Il Mulino.
- Di Virgilio, Aldo, Daniela Giannetti, Andrea Pedrazzani, and Luca Pinto. ‘Candidates in 2013 Italian General Election: Evidence from the Italian Candidate Survey’. Italian Political Science Review / Rivista Italiana di Scienza Politica, 45(3):317-42.
- Giannetti, Daniela, Andrea Pedrazzani, and Luca Pinto. ‘Personal Ambitions, Expertise and Parties’ Control: Understanding Committee Assignment in the Italian Chamber of Deputies’. Parliamentary Affairs, 72(1):119-140.
spsTREND was founded by Paolo Segatti (scientific coordinator), Ferruccio Biolcati Rinaldi, Marco Maraffi, Cinzia Meraviglia and Cristiano Vezzoni. The team then grew to involve other members of the department with different skills and expertise and who contribute in various ways to the activities of the lab.
Doctoral student in Sociology and Methodology for Social Research