Centre on Survey Data CSD

The Centre on Survey Data (CSD) will coordinate and integrate all survey related data, mainly on voters and citizens, but also on candidates and MPs. The proposed hosts for the CSD is based on a collaboration between three institutions: FORS–Swiss Centre of Expertise in the Social Sciences; the Institute of Political Studies at the University of Lausanne; and the Department of Political Science and International Relations at the University of Geneva.

The main objectives of the CSD are the following:

  • Coordinate and link national election studies and harmonize national election study data. For this part the centre will closely collaborate with CSES. There have been previous attempts to integrate national election study data from various countries and over several decades, most recently through the True European Voter Cost-Action project. The CSD will build on this, and on national election study data, to establish a set of time series that will be extended into the future as new editions of the data are collected;

  • Promote the usability of survey data, also in cooperation with other competence centres, across datasets collected within the different projects;

  • Contribute to the development of post- and pre-harmonization procedures and standards for previous and future survey data collections, in close cooperation with the CMS and CAD;

  • Advise projects in the development of standards for data collection, data integration and data documentation that will facilitate data harmonization in the future


The CSD may also be involved in supporting the preparation of the European Election Study (EES), but it will not be responsible for securing funding for the EES.


In broad terms, the tasks of the CSD include:

  • Coordinating the different national and comparative projects based on survey data. This includes ensuring an information flow between the different projects on methodological, thematic and governance issues, together with other standards.

  • Integration of national election study data which will happen in a two steps process: a) harmonization of national data; b) establishment of a comparative data file;

  • Integration of comparative data sets which will include; the provision of keys (various codes that allow to link parties, countries, constituencies etc.); recommendation and tools how data should be aggregated when you want to use the data set across projects (for example if you want to match candidate information to a voter data set); Provision of guidelines and tools how different concepts used in the different surveys can be analyzed comparatively.

  • Documentation: Establishment of a list of concepts, variables and scales used in different data collections (conceptual map), documentation standards for data collection.

  • Recommendations for future standardizations. Based on the experience from the data integration work, the centre will also recommend standards on coding, concepts, questions, answer categories, methods of data collection etc. facilitate the data integration at a later stage.

  • Produce guides and training material how to use the data sets in a comparative way across different data sources.