NSF General Social Survey (GSS) Competition

Please see the full solicitation for complete information about the funding opportunity. Below is a summary assembled by the Research & Innovation Office (RIO).

Program Summary

The General Social Survey (GSS) is a nationally representative interview survey of the United States adult population that collects data on a wide range of topics: behavioral items such as group membership and participation; personal psychological evaluations including measures of well-being, misanthropy and life satisfaction; attitudinal questions on such public issues as crime and punishment, race relations, gender roles and spending priorities; and demographic characteristics of respondents and their parents. The GSS has provided data on contemporary American society since 1972, serving as a barometer of social change and trends in attitudes, behaviors and attributes of the United States adult population. In 1984, the GSS stimulated cross-national research by collaborating with Australia, Britain and Germany to develop data collection programs modeled on the GSS. This program of comparative cross-national research, called the International Social Survey Program (ISSP), now includes 43 nations and enables researchers and analysts to place findings and trends from the United States within a comparative context.

Since its inception, the GSS has completed 34 in-person, cross-sectional surveys of the adult household population of the United States with response rates that exceed 50 percent. The survey is currently fielded biennially. Data from the GSS are made available to scholars, students and the public for research, analysis and educational activities within 12 months of data collection.

Several innovations have been initiated over the past 15 years, most of which warrant continuation. Most significantly, the GSS has been exploring a substantial use of web mode while maintaining the integrity of the time series. The 2022 and 2024 surveys used web mode in various combinations with face-to-face administration for purposes of testing and comparison. A collaboration with the American National Election Studies (ANES) was initiated for the 2020 election and continued for the 2024 election. Other innovations are linkages with administrative data made possible by asking respondents for permission (since 2018) and use of post-stratification weights (since 2020).

The Research Infrastructure in the Social and Behavioral Sciences Program (RISBS) in the Directorate for Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences expects to make one award for the next four-year funding cycle, fiscal years 2025-2028, to support the 2026 and 2028 GSS and the U.S. component of the ISSP survey. We anticipate an award in the range of $14 million and at most $16 million over four years to support two waves of data collection, dissemination activities, and outreach. The expected starting date is August 2025.


CU Internal Deadline: 11:59pm MST April 8, 2024

Sponsor Letter of Intent Deadline: 5:00pm MST June 3, 2024

Sponsor Application Deadline: 5:00pm MST August 15, 2024

Internal Application Requirements (all in PDF format)

  • Project Summary (3 pages maximum): Please include: 1) a management plan describing qualifications of senior personnel and their expected contributions to the project; and 2) the expected project significance and results including intellectual merit and broader impacts.
  • PI Curriculum Vitae
  • Budget Overview (1 page maximum): A basic budget outlining project costs is sufficient; detailed OCG budgets are not required.

To access the online application, visit: https://cuboulderovcr.secure-platform.com/a/solicitations/6963/home


Individuals identified as Senior/Key personnel (i.e., PI, co-PI, other senior/key personnel) are restricted to participating in only one proposal submitted in response to this solicitation.

Limited Submission Guidelines

Only one application per institution is allowed.

Award Information

Award Amount: $16M

Expected Number of Awards: 1

Review Criteria

In addition to the standard NSF criteria of intellectual merit and broader impacts, please note the solicitation specific criteria below. These criteria apply to the scientific infrastructure objectives listed in Section II of the NSF solicitation.

  • Possession of the scientific expertise and resources needed for survey instrument and sample development and innovation;
  • Capacity to develop and implement modules to meet the needs of the social science research community, other government agencies, and potential funders;
  • Cost-effectiveness;
  • Ability to continue collecting high-quality data from the cross-sectional sample of 2,500 new respondents while maintaining the target response rate of at least 55%;
  • Ability to process, edit, and release data, variables and codebooks within the target timeframe of 12 months after collection;
  • Ability to maintain and develop survey data infrastructure;
  • Ability to generate tutorials illustrating the use of the data;
  • Ability to maintain a sensitive data archive, user assistance, and bibliographic and award archive; and
  • Quality of oversight and management plan.