Afrobarometer is a research network that conducts and publishes public attitude surveys for over 35 African countries. These surveys relate to topics on democracy, governance, economic conditions and other related issues. So far, over 140 surveys have been developed and over 200,000 interviews conducted resulting in the six rounds of surveys that have been made publicly available.*

*This description is a paraphrased version of the description on the Afrobarometer website.

Available data file formats

SPSS (.sav files) for downloading complete data sets directly, and Excel (.xlxs files) for downloading specific survey information using the online data analysis tool.


This is an open data source that is for public use. For respondent-level data, early access to data, or geocoded data, one must request and apply for restricted access.


How to retrieve data by example


Suppose you wish to obtain attitudes about a country's government performance. Specifically, you wish to see the perceptions people have of the distribution of government responsibilities. Your question concerns which government bodies are perceived to have the primary responsibility for managing schools. You select the Round 4 survey, which corresponds to the years 2008 and 2009. You seek this information for Burkina Faso, Botswana, Madagascar, Mozambique and Senegal. The online data analysis tool will help you obtain the information for this specific topic in an Excel format.


  • Go to the Afrobarometer website and hover over the orange tab at the top labelled Online data analysis tool to see the dropdown menu. Select Analyze online.
  • Under Step 1: Select a survey choose the years 2008/2009, corresponding to Round 4. Under Step 2: Select countries to analyze choose Burkina Faso, Botswana, Madagascar, Mozambique and Senegal. Click on See results.
  • This next page has a list of survey topics, or the option to search for questions. Knowing the survey topic, you select “Government performance.” A list of specific questions will now appear to the right. Under “Distribution of Responsibilities” select the question “Primary responsibility: managing schools.” Note, searching something like “responsibility,” is another way to find this specific question.
  • You are now taken to a page with the data. This page includes a table with the numbers and percentages on the left, and a chart on the right, both indicating the distribution of responses. The table and charts here can be filtered by county or other categories and characteristics by selecting the option Add filter on the right (below the question and above the table). The Options button will also allow you to view the table in different ways (i.e. showing number counts or summing the percentages over the row total instead of the column total). The buttons above the chart allow for a different representation of the same data, where each button symbolizes a different chart type.
  • To download this data, there are three buttons in the top right corner. In order, they represent downloading the data below into an Excel spreadsheet, into a PDF document, and into a snapshot or JPEG picture.
  • To download more question data with the same settings (the same Round and country selections), use the back arrow at the top of the page, next to the home button, to return to the list of topics and questions.
  • You should now have access to the Round 4 survey information on the question pertaining to which government body has the primary responsibility of managing schools in the countries of Burkina Faso, Botswana, Madagascar, Mozambique and Senegal.

(Note: For downloading the SPSS merged data files for any particular Round, go to the orange tab at the top that is labelled Data and hover over it to see the dropdown menu, then select Merged data. Select the label with the Round of interest, and that will take you to an information page for that merged data set, which will include a Download now button. Clicking on the Download now button will prompt the data to download to your computer in the form of a .sav file. Links to access and download the accompanying codebooks and/or metadata should also be available on the Merged data page.)

Don’t forget to consult with the source website on how to properly cite your data! The Afrobarometer recommends a general citation format for citing their data. The following citations are the general format and the citation for this scenario, respectively:

Afrobarometer Data, [Country(ies)], [Round(s)], [Year(s)], available at

Afrobarometer Data, Burkina Faso, Botswana, Madagascar, Mozambique, Senegal, Round 4, 2008/2009, available at