MOSAiCH-ISSP in a nutshell

MOSAiCH “Measurement and Observation of Social Attitudes in Switzerland”

MOSAiCH is a cross-sectional survey that focuses on the Swiss population’s values and attitudes toward a wide range of social issues.

The respondents are drawn from a probabilistic sample representing the country’s population from the age of 18. While MOSAiCH was conducted every two years as a face-to-face interview until 2017, it will be carried out once a year from 2018 in the form of a self-administered survey (online/paper).

In terms of content, the survey is designed in order to enable comparisons both over time and across countries. The thematic focus lies on the current module of the International Social Survey Programme (ISSP). This international part is supplemented by selected socio-demographic questions, as well as a module composed of Switzerland specific questions. The questions of this Swiss part are determined by means of a public call and either expand the ISSP module thematically or measure other dimensions that are of special interest to Switzerland.

The MOSAiCH survey was founded in 2005; selected parts of the survey, however, have been administered in Switzerland for more than 20 years (see also: Survey modules of MOSAiCH and its predecessors since 1987).

Main aims:

  • The aim of the MOSAiCH survey is to generate internationally comparable data of very high quality that documents the Swiss population’s attitudes and opinions relating to a wide spectrum of social issues.
  • The purpose of the annual call for question contributions is to provide interested researchers with a valuable tool for the collection of representative data for their research projects. This data is also freely accessible to the wider scientific public.
Structure and funding

MOSAiCH is financed by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) and directed by the FORS International Surveys team. Under the lead of Michèle Ernst Staehli, the International Surveys team has the following responsibilities:

  • Overall planning and organisation of the survey;
  • Development of the Swiss part of the questionnaire;
  • Translation of the latest ISSP-Module from English into three national languages (French, German and Italian);
  • Sample drawing for Switzerland;
  • Development of specific survey methods;
  • Cleaning, documentation and processing of the MOSAiCH data.

Coordination of the International Social Survey Programme (ISSP)

The ISSP is a cross-national collaboration programme that coordinates and conducts annual surveys on relevant social science topics. Established in 1984 by its founding members Australia, Germany, Great Britain and the US, the ISSP (www.issp.org) now counts more than 47 member countries. Since its foundation, over one million respondents from all around the globe have participated in ISSP surveys.

The ISSP is organised mainly by a rotating Secretariat, a Drafting group for modules that decides on the annual topics and a Methodology Committee that is responsible for quality specifications and assurance. The General Meeting – consisting of all the member states – develops the source questionnaire, appoints the members of the working groups and makes strategic decisions.

In the past years, Switzerland has been strongly involved in various ISSP working groups. At present in the role of convenor on the Methodology Committee and in several ISSP research groups (non-response, mixed-mode, translation, weighting, demographics). Additionally, Switzerland is a member of the Drafting Group that prepared the “Social Networks and Social Resources” module for the 2017 edition of the ISSP.

Methods
Sample:

The respondents are drawn from a probabilistic sample representing the countries’ population from the age of 18. A net sample size of at least 1,000 respondents is required. Since 2010, MOSAiCH is considered a survey of national importance to Switzerland, which means that a sample of individuals can be drawn randomly from the sampling register of the Swiss Federal Statistical Office, in accordance with Art. 13c, para. 2, lett. d, of the Ordinance on the Execution of Federal Statistical Surveys dated 30 June 1993.

Sample design:

Until 2009: Random sampling in three stages:

  • Sample of postal codes representing all regions of Switzerland
  • Selection of a specified number of households from each of the sampled postal codes
  • Random drawing of one person from each household

Since 2010: Random sampling in one stage:

  • In 2010, MOSAiCH was declared a survey of national importance and received funding by the Swiss National Science Foundation. As a result, a sample of individuals can be drawn randomly from the sampling register of the Swiss Federal Statistical Office, in accordance with Art. 13c, para. 2, lett. d of the Ordinance on the Execution of Federal Statistical Surveys dated 30 June 1993.

Data collection:

  • Annual cross-sectional survey with at least one follow-up interview for the respondents
  • Self-administered questionnaires (web/paper)
  • Target net sample size for the follow-up interviews: 1000 respondents

In order to enhance the quality of the data, the methodical procedure is constantly adapted and improved. Among other things, these measures include a rigorous translation procedure for the questionnaire (TRAPD), optimised random sampling and extensive measures to increase the response rate.

Topics / editions

From 2018, the MOSAiCH questionnaire will basically consist of two parts: a main survey with the current module of the International Social Survey Programme (ISSP) including selected socio-demographic questions, on the one hand, and one or two follow-up surveys with Switzerland-specific questions on the other.

Main survey:

The ISSP-module
Every year, the international ISSP Drafting Group proposes a survey module on a specific topic. Since the goal is to make results internationally comparable, the questionnaire is designed so that it can be applied in a very diverse range of countries and cultures. The ISSP topics are periodically repeated, with most of the questions remaining unchanged from round to round. This enables the observation of change over time (see Summary table of survey modules).

In each round of the survey, general information about the person, such as age, gender, marital status or employment, is collected. This section varies in each edition, depending on the topic of the ISSP module of the corresponding year.

Follow-up survey(s):

The Swiss module
In each edition of MOSAiCH, the ISSP module is complemented by one or two follow-up surveys. These additional questions are only administered in Switzerland and either expand the ISSP module thematically or add aspects that are of particular interest to Switzerland.

FORS offers interested researchers the opportunity to implement their own questions or question modules in this Swiss section (since 2012 by means of an open call on the FORS website, see MOSAiCH call). The submitted proposals are reviewed by the MOSAiCH Commission and then compiled and adapted by the FORS International Surveys team.

The MOSAiCH collaborations document provides a summary of the external collaborations to date.

Switzerland-Europe: Eurobarometer (EB) and Eurobarometer in Switzerland (EBCH)
From 1999 to 2003, Switzerland conducted selected modules of the European Commission’s Eurobarometer Survey (in the first year as an independent survey, from 2000 to 2003 in combination with the ISSP). The modules of this Europe-wide survey were complemented by additional questions that focus primarily on the Swiss population’s attitudes and opinions towards national institutions and the European Union. These additional questions are gathered primarily in the modules EBCH – Swiss politics and EBCH – Relationship EU-CH.

While the Eurobarometer (EB) was discontinued in Switzerland in 2003, a considerable number of the EBCH questions has been incorporated into the MOSAiCH project (2005-2017). The document Vue d’ensemble des questions de l’Eurobaromètre en Suisse provides an overview of the repeated questions coming from EBCH as well as other sociodemographic and attitudinal questions of general interest and their implementation in different survey projects from 1999 until now.

From 2018, the EBCH questions will only be included in the MOSAiCH survey on a selective basis, depending on the specific subject of the ISSP module.

Editions

 ISSPEB/EBCHSwiss Module
2020 - MOSAiCHEnvironment IV (2020)Additional questions to ISSP 2020 and from the MOSAiCH call
2019 - MOSAiCHSocial Inequality V (2019)Additional questions to ISSP 2019 and from the MOSAiCH call
2018 - MOSAiCHReligion IV (2018)Additional questions to ISSP 2018 and from the MOSAiCH call
2017 - MOSAiCHRole of Government V (2016)

Social Networks and Social Resources (2017)
EBCH: Swiss Politics

EBCH: Relationship EU-CH
Additional questions to ISSP 2016 and ISSP 2017

Drop-off (MOSAiCH 2017)
2015 - MOSAiCHCitizenship II (2014)

Work Orientations IV (2015)
EBCH: Swiss Politics

EBCH: Relationship EU-CH
Additional questions to ISSP 2014 and ISSP 2015

Drop-off (MOSAiCH 2015)
2013 - MOSAiCHFamily and Changing Gender Roles IV (2012)

National Identity III (2013)
EBCH: Swiss Politics

EBCH: Relationship EU-CH
Additional questions to ISSP 2012 et ISSP 2013

Family Relations (Drop off)
2011 - MOSAiCHEnvironment III (2010)

Health (2011)
EBCH: Swiss Politics

EBCH: Relationship EU-CH
Noise Pollution

Time Orientation
2009 - MOSAiCHReligion III (2008)

Social Inequality IV (2009)
EBCH: Swiss Politics

EBCH: Relationship EU-CH
Religion

Professional Position

Survey Climate
2007 - MOSAiCHRole of Government IV (2006)

Leisure Time and Sports (2007)
EBCH: Swiss Politics

EBCH: Relationship EU-CH
Image of Professions

Satisfaction with Economy

Media
2005 - MOSAiCHCitizenship (2004)

Work Orientations III (2005)
EBCH: Swiss Politics

EBCH: Relationship EU-CH
Social Networks
2003 - Eurobarometer / ISSPNational Identity II (2003)Family and Couples (EB 59.0)

EBCH: Swiss Politics

EBCH: Relationship EU-CH
2002 - Eurobarometer / ISSPFamily and Changing Gender Roles III (2002)Biotechnology and genetic Engineering (EB 58.0)

EBCH: Swiss Politics

EBCH: Relationship EU-CH
2001 - Eurobarometer / ISSPSocial Relations and Support Systems (2001)Science and Technology (EB 55.2)

EBCH: Swiss Politics

EBCH: Relationship EU-CH
2000 - Eurobarometer / ISSPEnvironment II (2000)Attitudes toward people from other cultures (EB 53.0)

New communication technologies (EB 53.0)

Genetically modified Organisms (EB 53.0)

EBCH: Swiss Politics

EBCH: Relationship EU-CH
1999 - EurobarometerEnvironment (EB 51)

EBCH: Swiss Politics

EBCH: Relationship EU-CH
1999 - FNRSSocial Inequality III (1999)Social Inequality
1998 - FNRSReligion II (1998)Religion and Religious Communities: Construction and Regulation of Religious Mobilisation
1997 - FNRSRole of Government III (1996)

Work Orientations II (1997)
Conditions and Meaning of Work

Participation at Work
1994 - FNRSEnvironment I (1993)Awareness and behavior toward the Environment
1987 - FNRSSocial Inequality I (1987)Social Inequality

Note: Roman numerals indicate the repetition of the module within the ISSP.

Data

After completion of the fieldwork , FORS reviews and verifies the MOSAiCH data and process it, so it can be integrated into the data archive on the FORS NESSTAR server. The anonymised MOSAiCH datasets are freely available to researchers and other interested parties following registration and agreement to the conditions of data use. The documentation of the variables is available in French or German.

NESSTAR, however, provides only a limited MOSAiCH dataset. The comprehensive dataset is available on the FORSbase data catalogue. The ISSP data is also stored at the Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences (GESIS). There, you can also find the datasets of the other participating countries.

Researchers are requested to respect the conditions of data use, in particular the requirement for proper citation in articles or other forms of publications (Citations). All publications that reference the MOSAiCH data must be communicated to the FORS International Surveys team.

Important/useful links:

MOSAiCH call

Since 2012, FORS offers interested researchers the opportunity to contribute questions or question modules to the Swiss part of MOSAiCH by means of an open call. Researchers in the social sciences are thus given the opportunity to collect representative data on their own research projects without incurring any costs.

From 2018, FORS will continue to expand this service by providing researchers with more space for their own questions and by increasing the tendering frequency. The call for question contributions will be held annually instead of every two years.

The submitted proposals are examined by the MOSAiCH Commission and then compiled and adapted by the FORS International Surveys team.

Details of the criteria and conditions for submitting question or question modules can be found in the current call (see below).

Scientific Commission

The MOSAiCH Scientific Commission guarantees the strong embedding of MOSAiCH within the Swiss research community and authorities involved in research in the social sciences. The Commission is mandated by the FORS Foundation Board. According to its mandate, the Commission’s purpose is to guarantee the quality of the Swiss part of the research project and to strengthen the research network in the social sciences at Swiss universities and concerned authorities.

Members:

  • Prof. Abdeljalil Akkari (Université de Genève)
  • Prof. Monica Budowski (Universität Freiburg)
  • Prof. Axel Franzen (Universität Bern)
  • Prof. Eva Green (Université de Lausanne)
  • Prof. Spartaco Greppi (SUPSI, Lugano)
  • Prof. Dominique Joye (FORS/Université de Lausanne)
  • Prof. Georg Lutz (FORS/Université de Lausanne)
  • Prof. Bart Meuleman (KU Leuven, Belgium)
  • Prof. Thomas Volken (Zürcher Hochschule für Angewandte Wissenschaften)

Project Directors:

Dr. Michèle Ernst Stähli and Dr. Marlène Sapin (FORS, Lausanne)

The 2019 MOSAiCH-ISSP call is closed. The next call for the 2020 MOSAiCH relating to the ISSP module ‘Environment IV’ will be published early 2019.