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Gould Data Knowledge Base

World Values Survey

The World Values Survey (WVS) is a global research initiative exploring values, how they change over time, and what impact they have. The WVS is made up of nationally representative surveys conducted in almost 100 countries encompassing about 90 percent of the world's population. Data spans from 1981 to present.

The survey is conducted in "waves", and is currently on wave 7. For each wave, suggestions for questions are solicited from social scientists around the world, and the final questionnaire is developed in English.

For further explanation of the WVS reference these sites:

Step-by-Step Guide to Online Analysis of the WVS

Create your own table of statistics from the WVS like the one below, just follow these steps.

1. Go Data & Documentation, then into the subcategory Online Analysis.

2. Select a wave (1).

3. Select a country of countries (2) and click next.

4. Select a variable or survey question by locating it on the list and clicking Show (3).

5. On the results list, select export to PDF, to Excel, or select viewing options (view graphics, show question translation for other samples, cross by other variables).




How to Download Data and Documentation

If you need to do analysis with WVS data using data software such as R, Stata, SPSS or other programs, dowload data and documentation from the WVS using the following steps. 

1. Click Documentation/Downloads and then Wave (1)

2. Select either Integrated Documentation or any country (2)

3. Click the codebook document to download metadata for the wave (3)

4. To download the codebook for a country, click over the country (2) and click the codebook document (4)

5. Register and accept terms, then click download.

The resulting pdf or zip file will have a question index on the left side to quickly locate variables. For each question you can see the English wording, country specific wording (in native language) and the crossings by sex and age.

Whenever you download data, make sure you have appropriate documentation! Use the checklist under item #6 of the Carleton Data Reference Worksheet to make sure you record all necessary information.

Carleton Data Reference Worksheet


Frequently Asked Questions

What is a wave?

  • A wave is the aggregated files and documents that merge data from the different participating countries for a given survey.

What levels are the data available on?

  • Country level: Individual surveys data and documentation for each different wave.
  • Wave level: The aggregate files and documents merging the participating countries. Usually used for result comparison among countries.
  • Longitudinal level: All waves are merged, useful for analyzing trends across time series.