4159.0.55.001 - General Social Survey: Data Reference Package, 2002  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 18/12/2003  Ceased
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14/05/2007 NOTE:

This product has been discontinued and replaced. Please see the product General Social Survey: User Guide, Australia (cat. no. 4159.0.55.002) for the latest updated information.

The 2002 issue of General social Survey: Data Reference package (cat. no. 4159.0.55.001) has been re-issued to correct the contact details in the Introduction.

No other information or data released with this issue are affected.


This document contains links to the questions and associated prompt cards used in the 2002 General Social Survey (GSS). Also provided is a list of the output data items from the survey. These are made available to assist users of data from the survey in understanding what information was collected and how it was collected. The ABS retains copyright on the questions asked in the GSS. They cannot be used in whole or in part in any other survey or study without the permission of the ABS. In general, when requested the ABS allows the use of questions to support data comparability but only in such a way that avoids any potential confusion about the role of the ABS in surveys run by other organisations, or perceptions that ABS endorses a survey run by another agency. For further information please contact National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070.

GSS CAI questions

The GSS was collected by personal interview conducted using Computer Assisted Interviewing (CAI). CAI involves the use of a computer to collect, store and transmit data relating to interviews conducted between interviewers and respondents. Under CAI, all sequencing is performed automatically and the appropriate question wording is automatically displayed.

The following document presents the questions from the CAI questionnaire used for the GSS interview. It includes questions relating to the household and questions asked of the selected person covering the GSS component as well as the supplementary surveys, included in the 2002 GSS. The supplementary surveys were the 'Household use of information technology survey', 'Survey of attendance at selected culture and leisure venues', 'Survey of sports attendance' and the 'Survey of participation in sport and recreational physical activities'.

The topics covered in the GSS are shown below in the order in which they appear in questionnaire.




Household questions


1 - 8


2.1 - 2.2

10 - 11


3.1 - 3.4

13 - 16


4.1 - 4.4

18 - 27


5.1 - 5.2

29 - 30


6.1 - 6.2

32 - 35

Family and community

7.1 - 7.7

37 - 45


8.1 - 8.2

47 - 48

Sports participation


50 - 53

Culture/Leisure activities and venues

10.1 - 10.2

55 - 65

Information Technology

11.1 - 11.10

67 - 85

Financial Stress


87 - 88

Income unit income

13.1 - 13.3

90 - 110

Household income

14.1 - 14.3

112 - 114


15.1 - 15.3

116 - 119

Assets and Liabilities

16.1 - 16.2

121 - 123

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GSS Questionnaire_2002.pdf

Prompt Cards

This document presents the prompt cards used in the GSS interview. Prompt cards were contained in a booklet carried by the GSS interviewers and displayed to the respondent at various points throughout the interview. Prompt cards allow respondents to choose a response to a question from a predetermined list of response categories. They are used to standardise common responses that can be given to particular questions and to ensure that the interview flows efficiently.

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GSS Prompt cards_2002.pdf

Important points to note regarding the GSS questionnaire:
  • The questionnaire was designed to be administered by experienced ABS interviewers, who had received specific training on this survey.
  • The questionnaire was further supported by detailed interviewer instructions, covering general procedural issues as well as specific instructions relating to individual questions. These instructions were retained by interviewers throughout the survey enumeration for reference purposes as required; for example where a respondent asks how to answer for a particular circumstance. (For instance when asked if they have a computer at home they may enquire as to whether a Palm Pilot should be included.) Copies of relevant sections from these instructions may be available on request.
  • The questionnaire uses standard ABS conventions, such as the use of capital letters to indicate questions to be asked, lower case to indicate response categories and italics to indicate sequence guides or other instructions to interviewers.
  • In some instances 'Ctrl K' key strokes were used to record 'Don't know' responses, while 'Ctrl R' key strokes were used to record a 'Refusal' response.
  • The questionnaire was designed to be processed using standard ABS procedures (including office coding) and systems.
  • The questionnaire is not fully indicative of the range of information available from the survey, as additional items are created in processing the data and ABS classifications are applied to raw data inputs. Also, some questions are asked solely for the purpose of enabling or clarifying other questions, and are not available in survey results. All items which are available from the survey are shown in the list of output data items below.

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GSS Output data items_2002.pdf

  • Information about the source of output data items (including the computer code used to generate the item where appropriate) may also be made available on request.

Further information about this survey can be found in
2002 General Social Survey: Users' Guide (cat. no. 4159.0.55.002) which is scheduled to be available on the ABS web site in February 2004. Summary results of the survey were released in General Social Survey: Summary Results, Australia, 2002 (cat. no. 4159.0).