Studying politics? Huge database of political attitudes and choices now yours

November 20, 2015, University of Manchester
Studying politics? Huge database of political attitudes and choices now yours
Make your own graph or charts from BES' massive database

Politics students, irrespective of their level of statistical expertise, now have the chance to analyse the opinions of tens of thousands of people surveyed between February 2014 and May 2015.

The information is made available by the British Election Study, the country's longest running study of electoral behaviour, and has been substantially expanded to cover the 2015 General Election and other key points in the electoral cycle.

Called the Data Playground, students can make their own graphs and charts based on six detailed survey waves of up to 30,000 people, from over 400 different variables at the click of a mouse.

Wave 5 of the study was conducted every day during the campaign in the run up to the General Election on 7 May.

Professor Jane Green, BES Co-Director, is from The University of Manchester. She said: "At the British Election Study we are keen to make our data as widely accessible as we can possibly make it, whether you're an A-level student, a journalist, or a voter who wants to learn more about democracy.

"We've done the for you already: all you have to do is click a few buttons to create graphs and tables from scratch. You'll be able to edit and download your graphics and study politics by analysing people who participate in it – individual voters, and also people who choose not to vote."

The Data Playground can help you find out the British public's attitudes to a range of policies, public spending, the European Union, immigration and other issues you might read about every day in the newspapers.

You can compare attitudes to the demographic details of people who take part in the surveys such as their age, religion and even the newspapers they read.

You can also examine data from England, Wales, and Scotland separately and together.

Professor Green added: "The Data Playground, for the first time in the British Election Study's history, allows anyone to examine large volumes of topical and recent data without the need for specialist expertise or software.

"We hope students and sixth formers will use it, as it is part of our mission to provide balanced and impartial information about , away from the lens of the political parties.

"As academics, we feel it is important to make our research accessible and relevant to the wider community and our belief is that this is a powerful way to do that."

Explore further: Studying politics? Come play in the Data Playground

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