The primary objective of SASAS is to design, develop and implement a conceptually and methodologically robust study of changing social attitudes and values in South Africa to be able to carefully and consistently monitor and explain changes in attitudes amongst various socio-demographic groupings. The SASAS explores a wide range of value changes, including the distribution and shape of racial attitudes and aspirations, attitudes towards democratic and constitutional issues, and the redistribution of resources and power. Moreover, there is also an explicit interest in mapping changing attitudes towards some of the moral issues that confront and are fiercely debated in South Africa, such as gender issues, AIDS, crime and punishment, governance, and service delivery. The SASAS is intended to provide a unique long-term account of the social fabric of modern South Africa, and of how its changing political and institutional structures interact over time with changing social attitudes and values.
Kind of Data
Sample survey data [ssd]
Unit of Analysis
The units of analysis in the study are households and individuals
v1: Edited, anonymised dataset available from an external repository
The thematic content of the survey includes democracy, identity, public services, social values, crime, voting, demographics, families and family authority
The lowest level of geographic aggregation covered by the data is province
The population under investigation includes adults aged 16 and older in private households in South Africa
Producers and sponsors
Human Sciences Research Council
The South African Social Attitudes Survey (SASAS) is a nationally representative survey series that has been conducted on an annual basis by the Human Sciences Research Council's (HSRC) since 2003. The survey has been designed to yield a representative sample of adults aged 16 years and older. The sampling frame for the survey is the HSRC's second Master Sample, which was designed in 2007 and consists of 1 000 primary sampling units (PSUs). The 2001 population census enumerator areas (EAs) were used as PSUs.
These PSUs (EAs) were drawn, with probability proportional to size, from a sampling frame created by Professor David Stoker containing all 80,787 of the 2001 EAs. This sampling frame uses the estimated number of dwelling units (DUs) in an EA (PSU) as a measure of size. The sampling frame was annually updated to coincide with StatsSA's mid-year population estimates in respect of the following variables: province, gender, population group and age group. In updating the 2007 version of this sampling frame, additional use was made of (a) the GeoTerraImage (GTI) residential structure count in all metropolitan EAs in 2004/2006 and (b) the ESKOM counts of dwelling units in all cities, towns, townships and villages.
The HSRC's second master sample excludes special institutions (such as hospitals, military camps, old age homes, school and university hostels), recreational areas, industrial areas, vacant EAs as well as the 1000 EAs included in the first HSRC's master sample (2003-2006). It therefore focuses on dwelling units or visiting points as secondary sampling units (SSUs), which have been defined as 'separate (non-vacant) residential stands, addresses, structures, flats, homesteads, etc.'.
For the 2008 SASAS round of interviewing, a sub-sample of 500 PSUs was drawn from the HSRC's 2nd Master Sample. Three explicit stratification variables were used, namely province, geographic type and majority population group. Within each stratum, the allocated number of PSUs was drawn using proportional to size probability sampling with the estimated number of dwelling units in the PSU as measure of size. In each of these drawn PSUs, 14 dwelling units were selected and systematically grouped into two sub-samples of seven, each corresponding to the two SASAS questionnaire versions.
Selection of individuals
Interviewers called at each visiting point selected from the 2nd HSRC master sample and listed all those eligible for inclusion in the sample, that is, all persons currently aged 16 or over and resident at the selected visiting point. The interviewer then selected one respondent using a random selection procedure based on a Kish grid.
Dates of Data Collection
Data Collection Mode
To accommodate the wide variety of topics included in the survey, two questionnaires were administered simultaneously.
The core module will remain constant for subsequent annual SASAS surveys with the aim of monitoring change and continuity in a variety of socio-economic and socio-political variables. In addition, a number of themes will be accommodated in rotation. The rotating element of the survey consists of two or more topic-specific modules in each round of interviewing and is directed at measuring a range of policy and academic concerns and issues that require more detailed examination at a specific point in time than the multi-topic core module would permit. The two different versions of the questionnaire were administered concurrently in each of the chosen sampling areas.
Fieldworkers were required to complete a paper-based instrument while interviews were conducted face-to-face.
Topics included in the questionnaires are: democracy, national identity and pride, education, moral issues, crime, voting, demographics and other classificatory variables.
Rotating modules are: intergroup relations, gender attitudes, poverty, household expenditure, Soccer World Cup, service delivery, Hope Scale, water and sanitation and Hunger Scale.
International Social Survey Programme. (ISSP web page:www.issp.org/)
The International Social Survey Programme (ISSP) is run by a group of research organisations, each of which undertakes to field annually an agreed module of questions on a chosen topic area. SASAS 2003 represents the formalisation of South Africa's inclusion in the ISSP, the intention being to include the module in one of the SASAS questionnaires in each round of interviewing. Each module is chosen for repetition at intervals to allow comparisons both between countries (membership currently stands at 48) and over time. In 2008, the chosen subject was the religion and the module was carried in version two of the questionnaire (Qs.1-80. This data can be accessed through the ISSP data portal (see link above).
Human Sciences Research Council. South African Social Attitudes Survey (SASAS) 2008:Questionnaire 1 [dataset]. Pretoria: Human Sciences Research Council, [producer and distributor], 2012.
Human Sciences Research Council. South African Social Attitudes Survey (SASAS) 2008: Questionnaire 2. [dataset]. Pretoria: Human Sciences Research Council, [producer and distributor], 2012.
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• the data and documentation will be used solely for educational, scholarly and nonprofit purposes,
• the data and documentation will not be duplicated or distributed without prior approval from the HSRC,
• the confidentiality of individuals/organisations in the data will be preserved at all times and that no attempt will be made to obtain or derive information relating specifically to identifiable individuals/organisations,
• the HSRC will be acknowledged in all published works based on the data and documentation
• the HSRC will be informed of any publications resulting from work based in whole or in part on the data and documentation, and
• the HSRC will not be held liable for the accuracy or comprehensiveness of the data. The data is provided on an "as is" basis and without warranty or liability of any kind.