The South African Social Attitudes Survey (Sasas) is increasingly providing a unique, long-term account of the speed and direction of change in underlying public values and the social fabric of modern South Africa. Specific examples will be provided of changes that have been occurring in the outlook and evaluations of South Africans over time.
In times of rising economic and political uncertainty, nationally representative social survey trend data assumes increasing importance as a means for understanding the attitudes, experiences, and behavioural preferences of the adult public. Sasas allows the ability to monitor the dynamics of these key factors over time. It is a tool for identifying unequal voices, mapping mindsets, developing insight into societal developments, and often serves as a myth-busting and predictive mechanism that can inform decision- and policy-making processes.
A representative survey series that has been administered by the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) on an annual basis since 2003, building on earlier survey undertakings by the organisation and drawing on the design principles of well-known, long-standing general social surveys globally, Sasas continues to provide valuable data on social trends in South Africa.
Dr Ben Roberts
Dr Ben Roberts is acting strategic lead, and research director in the Developmental, Ethical and Capable State (DCES) division at the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC). He helped design, and has coordinated the annual Sasas series since its inception two decades ago.
Katiso Rachabane is the managing director of GeoScope SA. He is a survey research specialist with extensive experience in questionnaire development, design and programming, as well as database design and development. His role in Sasas has been the implementation of a new electronic data collection technology (CAPI) for the HSRC, as well as operational management of the technology's application.
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