The World Values Survey (WVS) is a common questionnaire survey used to study the changing attitudes and values of individuals in almost 100 countries. It is a cross-national time series study that is conducted in waves, with each wave covering a span of five years. The WVS has conducted interviews with almost 400,000 respondents and covers a broad range of countries with very different wealth levels and cultural backgrounds.*
*This description is a paraphrased version of the description on the World Values Survey website.
Available data file formats
PDF, Excel, SPSS, SAS, Stata and R.
This is an open data source that is for public use.
How to retrieve data by example
Suppose you are interested in the political attitudes and values of individuals in China in the early 1990s. You would like to access the raw data and obtain the data in an Excel file.
- Go to the World Values Survey website and click on Data & Documentation in the legend on the left side of the screen.
- Here there is general information about the data and associated documentation provided on this site. Next, click Documentation/Downloads. This page provides organizational information for the structure of the site. For data on the early 1990s, select Wave 2 (1990-94).
- The following page contains all information on Wave 2 of the WVS. Here, there is access to the questionnaire, codebook, statistical data files and older versions of the data files. To obtain solely the information on China, click China 1990 in the top right under Select a country.
- Provided here is the complete WVS Wave 2 information for China. Since you want the information in an Excel file, click on the file WV2_Data_China 1990_Excel__Text_v20180912. (Notice there are two Excel files listed here. The second Excel file listed does not say "Text" in the name of the file. Therefore, the second Excel file will have numerical codes that correspond to the responses given. The "Text" file will have the responses and values in words. However, the two files convey the same information.) Once you click on it, the file should download to your computer. Links to access and download the accompanying codebooks and/or metadata should also be available on this page.
Note: If you wish to view the data online, click Online Analysis under the Data & Documentation tab, then select 1990-1994, which corresponds to Wave 2. Select China as your country of interest and click Next. This will produce a list of variables, or survey questions that were asked. Instead of scrolling through all of them, click Show tree to see a list of topics associated with that wave. Click on the folder of Politics and Society and browse through the list to see which topics are of interest to you. For example, if you click Willingness to fight for country, you will be taken to a page that contains all of the information for this question in Wave 2 for China. Here you can display the responses in different ways, and also look at cross tabulations across different person characteristics or other variables. Looking at a time series of this variable can be done by clicking on the Time Series tab at the top. There are also options here to download this specific data on the top right, in either a PDF or Excel file.
Whether through the online data analysis tool or by directly downloading, you should now have access to the raw data political attitudes in China for the early 1990s.
Be sure to consult with the source website on how to properly cite your data. The WVS provides citations for each of their Waves of surveys and they are provided at the top of the main Wave page under the heading Release notes. For this scenario, the citation would be:
Inglehart, R., C. Haerpfer, A. Moreno, C. Welzel, K. Kizilova, J. Diez-Medrano, M. Lagos, P. Norris, E. Ponarin & B. Puranen et al. (eds.). 2014. World Values Survey: Round Two - Country-Pooled Datafile Version: www.worldvaluessurvey.org/WVSDocumentationWV2.jsp. Madrid: JD Systems Institute.