The purposes of the British Election Study are: (1) to
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
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.