General Social Survey Has Created Social Media Archive, a New Source for Public Opinion Data

General Social Survey Has Created Social Media Archive, a New Source for Public Opinion Data

CHICAGO, December 14, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — NORC at the University of Chicago is giving social scientists and other researchers an easy way to fold social media conversations into their research projects with the launch of its General Social Media Archive. The Archive complements NORC’s long-running, highly influential General Social Survey (GSS).

NORC experts say the tool gives users access to social media content over time, providing a perspective on the opinions, attitudes and behaviors of the public who engage with social media. Data from the archive will be available to the public in early 2023.

“As people and organizations have increasingly flocked to social media to express their views on virtually every topic of modern life, we wanted to tap into this rich source of public opinion data and so we created the General Social Media Archive,” said Michael Davern, NORC’s executive vice president of research. “This year is the 50thst anniversary of the General Social Survey, and we are excited to improve the publicly available data on important topics and opinion to understand the drivers of social change.”

The General Social Media Archive will allow users to identify and track trends and monitor general sentiment on a range of topics. The archive will mainly consist of data from Twitter’s Streaming Application Programming Interface (API) and provides researchers with two major metrics: the volume of messages on a topic and the average sentiment of messages on that topic. The archive will be compiled by NORC’s Social Data Collaboratory.
NORC hopes to release additional years of data to the General Social Media Archive in the future.

“The goal of the GSS has always been to keep a finger on the pulse of the topics and issues affecting American society. As an increasing portion of Americans’ lives are lived online and through digital technology, researchers must use multiple methods and types of data used to understand these perspectives,” said Amelia Burke-Garcia, program area director at NORC’s Department of Public Health. “The addition of a social media archive to the existing GSS dataset demonstrates how the GSS is helping researchers do just that. I am delighted that the GSS is releasing this data and excited to see how the research community will use it. “

The first set of archived data released by the GSS covers the pressing topics of marijuana, abortion, guns, the environment and same-sex marriage from 2019 to 2021.

Contact: For more information, please contact Eric Young at NORC at [email protected] or (703) 217-6814 (cell).

About NORC at the University of Chicago

NORC at the University of Chicago conduct research and analysis that decision makers trust. As an impartial research organization and a pioneer in measuring and understanding the world, we have studied nearly every aspect of the human experience and every major news event for more than eight decades. Today, we work with government, corporate and nonprofit clients around the world to provide the objectivity and expertise needed to inform the critical decisions facing society.

About the General Social Survey

The General Social Survey (GSS) is a nationally representative survey of adults in the United States conducted since 1972. The GSS collects data on contemporary American society to monitor and explain trends in opinions, attitudes, and behavior. The GSS adapted questions from earlier surveys, allowing researchers to make comparisons spanning up to 80 years.

SOURCE NORC at the University of Chicago

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