Values in a Crisis Survey: Invitation for Participation
An international team of scholars under the leadership of the WVSA Vice-President Prof. Dr. Christian Welzel (Leuphana University Luneburg) is organizing a 3-wave "Values in Crisis" survey. The survey aims to study people' values now during the corona-pandemic (wave 1), shortly after the pandemic ceases (wave 2) and in approximately 1 year from now (wave 3). Self-administered 20-minutes online questionnaire is the main instrument. The survey will take place in Germany and the UK, and the team is looking for academic groups and public opinion research institutes who might be interested to expanding the study to their countries.
Conventional wisdom holds that people’s moral values take shape during their formative phase of socialization. The moral values that people have internalized by then are thought to be stable for the rest of their lifetime. This continuity does not entirely foreclose momentary adjustments in, for instance, people’s valuation of freedom-vs-security, in response to situational changes. But does the glacial stability of values that we routinely observe in “normal” times persist in highly unusual times when a sudden crisis of massive proportions hits an entire society?
The Corona pandemic, which is ongoing at the time of this writing, is one of the examples of the most dramatic social crisis since World War II. The pandemic is of a global scale, progresses at rapid speed and severely restricts the daily lives of billions of people around the world. Against this backdrop, the ongoing Corona pandemic offers a truly unique opportunity—a natural experiment indeed—to study how people’s moral values behave during times of crises. In the face of lacking evidence, we cannot take it for granted that the glacial stability of values observed in normal times continues throughout the Corona crisis. This uncertainty opens new territory and raises several imminent research questions: Does the Corona pandemic impact on people’s values? In other words, do people change their values under the imprint of this crisis? If yes, how massive are these changes? And if these changes are massive, in what direction do they move? Finally, how enduring are these changes, once an end of the crisis is at sight and once its economic consequences are overcome: do people’s moral values revert back to their old setpoint or does the crisis leave a lasting impact?
To study the research questions, we need above all a panel study that surveys the same people throughout the different stages of the Corona pandemic. The aim is to figure out how these respondents’ perception of the crisis transforms and how these changes in perspective affect their moral values and social orientations. Needless to say, the respondents should be taken from a representative sample. Under the current contact restrictions, using an online panel is the only option.
Sample: To be specific, we envisage to interview a panel of roughly 2,000 respondents in three consecutive waves, using a fully standardized questionnaire of about twenty minutes interview length. We intend to include in the questionnaire randomized experimental tools to see whether people react in their responses to varying stimuli that depict the crisis in different degrees of severity.
Waves: We plan three panel waves that should be timed as follows: Wave 1 “Amidst the crisis” (basically now or very soon as long as curfew-like measures are still in effect), Wave 2 “End at Sight” (at a point in time when public life begins to turn back to normalcy), Wave 3 “After Recovery” (half a year or a full year later when the economy has recovered from the its expected recession). Again, it is necessary to interview the same respondents throughout the crisis.
Countries: So far project implementation has been confirmed in Germany and the UK. The team is looking for academic groups and public opinion research institutes who might be interested to expanding the study to their countries. For more information, please, see the concept note attached below. With your expressions of interest, please, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
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