The European Values Study is a large-scale, cross-national, and longitudinal survey research program on basic human values, initiated by the European Value Systems Study Group (EVSSG) in the late 1970s, at that time an informal grouping of academics. Now, it is carried on in the setting of a foundation, using the (abbreviated) name of the group European Values Study (EVS).
The EVSSG aimed at designing and conducting a major empirical study of the moral and social values underlying European social and political institutions and governing conduct. They addressed the following questions:
Do Europeans share common values?
Are values changing in Europe and, if so, in what directions?
Do Christian values continue to permeate European life and culture?
Is a coherent alternative meaning system replacing that of Christianity?
What are the implications for European unity?
The research project aroused interest in North and South America, the Middle and Far East, Australia, and South Africa where affiliated groups were set up to administer the same questionnaire. Agreements were negotiated with regard to the exchange of data for intercontinental and inter-cultural comparisons. As a result a unique data set became available, covering 26 nations.
In order to explore values changes, a repeat survey was necessary. A second wave of surveys was launched in 1990 in all European countries, including Switzerland and Austria and countries in Central and Eastern Europe, as well as in the US and Canada. In-depth analyses of the 1981 and 1990 findings with regard to Western and Central Europe, and North America have reinforced the impression that a profound transformation of modern culture is taking place. However, change is not taking place at the same speed in all cultures, but appears dependent upon the stage of socio- economic development and historical factors specific to a given culture
A rich academic literature has now been created around the original survey, and numerous other works have made use of the findings. A large number of workshops, congresses and conferences has been organized based directly on the 1981 and 1990 surveys and results have been presented at seminars, and national as well as international conferences.
In addition to a large series of books on the findings for individual countries several comparative studies were published on the ten countries:
Valeurs du Temps Present. Presses Universitaires de France, 1983.
Stephen Harding, David Phillips and Michael Fogarty, ContrastingValues in Western Europe. Unity, Diversity and Change. MacMillan, 1986.
L. Halman et. al., Traditie, Secularisatie en Individualisering. Tilburg University Press, 1987.
In 1990, the second wave of the European Values Study was carried out in almost all the countries of Europe, including those of Central and Eastern Europe, and in the US and Canada. The two North American countries were included because comparing European countries to these economically advanced countries, sharing Western culture but having their own history, could reveal what is peculiar in the European developments. This decision has proven to be of great value. A long list of publications appeared based on the 1990 data and several books focussed also on comparisons in time (Abbruzzese, Gubert and Pollini, 1995; Abela, 1994; Ashford and Timms, 1992; Barker, Halman and Vloet, 1992; Capraro, 1995; Elzo et al., 1994; Ester, Halman, and de Moor, 1993; 1994; de Fran‡a, 1993; Gundelach and Riis, 1993; Kerkhofs et al., 1992; Melich, 1991; de Moor, 1995; Nicolas and Inglehart, 1994; Orizo, 1991; Pettersson and Riis, 1994; Riffault, 1994; Timms, 1992; Voy‚ et al. 1992; Whelan, 1994; Zulehner et al., 1993).
The 1999/2000 survey
In order to further explore the dynamics of value change in Europe, and probe more deeply into their causes and consequences, a third wave has been launched and fieldwork has been conducted in 1999 or 2000 throughout Europe. The 1999/2000 European Values Study is coordinated from Tilburg University
The preparations for the present study started during the nineties. Building on the knowledge of the two previous waves, a new questionnaire was designed, taking into account various new issues which have emerged in the various life spheres. For that purpose four substantive research groups were established covering the broad domains of life and main themes in the questionnaire: religion and morality, politics, work and leisure, primary relations. Data collection was completed in 1999/2000. Data are still under embargo.
EVS 1999/2000 participants
Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Norway, TheNetherlands, Northern Ireland, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, Ukraine, USA.
2001. The European Values Study: A Third Wave. Source Book of the 1999/2000 European Values Study Surveys. [compiled by] Loek Halman [in collaboration with Anthony M. Abela, Helmut Anheier and Stephen Harding and 53 others]. Tilburg: European Values Study.