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European Values Study: unique research project still relevant after 40 years

TilburgU & Co 3 min Femke Trommels

For over 40 years, researchers from over 35 European countries have been collecting data on how Europeans think about themes such as identity, migration, prosperity, sustainability, solidarity and democracy. Tilburg University coordinates this European Values Study; a unique, large-scale international and longitudinal research project into the basic human values of inhabitants throughout Europe. Recently, the 'Atlas of European Values' was published for the third time, bringing together the most recent findings.

"One of the main questions in the European Values Study is whether there is such a thing as European values at all," says sociologist Tim Reeskens, program leader for the European Values Study (EVS) in the Netherlands. "In addition, we would like to know whether values are subject to change and if so: in what direction?" To be able to (continue to) answer these questions, every nine years thousands of residents from dozens of countries are submitted to questionnaires on topics such as national and European identity, the importance of democracy, sustainability, religion, migration, human rights and solidarity. More than 70,000 Europeans have already been interviewed. Young, old and from all walks of life.

Atlas

This year, for the third time, the most important findings have been compiled in the Atlas of European Values - Change and Continuity in Turbulent Times, which can be downloaded via this link: www.valuesatlas.eu

Significance

Tim Reeskens: "The knowledge distilled from the EVS data provides important insights and helps to interpret social developments. For example, the rise of conservatism among young people. Or, very topically: can we conclude on the basis of values that Ukraine is a European country? A new step is the Jean Monnet Center of European Values, which was recently founded and is also coordinated from Tilburg. Here, we develop knowledge about the influence of values on the feasibility of EU policies. The EVS data help to shed light on how citizens think about the six main policy domains of the EU Commission for the coming years, such as stopping climate change and strengthening democracy. Within the expertise center, there is also a lot of focus on knowledge sharing. An example is the development of interactive teaching materials for secondary schools. This is how the EVS data find their way into practice."

TSB - Tim Reeskens

Working method

The EVS project is coordinated by researchers from the Department of Sociology (Tilburg School of Social and Behavioral Sciences), but involves dozens of researchers from countries throughout Europe. A board of program directors monitors the broad outlines of the project and approves the final questionnaire and survey methodology. There is an executive committee, a theory group that develops the questionnaire and a methodology group that monitors the quality of the research. Various activities are also organized and funds are raised within the EVS Foundation. The European Values Study data are freely available and have contributed to over 2800 publications, found in the EVS bibliography.

https://europeanvaluesstudy.eu/