The British Election Study 
                   at the University of Essex


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The purposes of the British Election Study are:  (1) to study long-term trends in British voting behaviour; (2) to explain the election outcome; (3) to explain party choice; (4) to explain turnout; and (5) to examine the consequences of elections for the operation of democracy more generally.

The 2005 BES retains all key questions that are part of long-run series since 1964, the long-standing questions on ideology, economic perceptions and issue positions that were introduced after 1979, as well as questions added in 2001 to explain turnout and to explore attitudes towards elections, parties, and the democratic process.

The core survey uses a national face-to-face probability sample and the primary instrument is a post-election face-to-face survey.

In a 'first of its kind' experiment in a national election study, the BES is conducting a survey mode comparisons between face-to-face and internet surveys.  This experiment has been designed to provide a sampling frame comparison between a ‘conventional’ internet sample and internet users drawn from a probability sample.  Finally, the study also contains internet experiments aimed at developing better survey measures (e.g. feedback to respondents) and ways of assessing media effects. 


Click here to view a (MS Powerpoint) slide-show outlining the central features of the British Election Study.








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Updated by: Kristi Winters