About EASS

Working Principle
East Asian Social Survey (EASS)
(Updated on Dec. 23, 2008)
I. Name and Mission of the Organization

The name of the organization is East Asian Social Survey (EASS). The institutions participating in the EASS are expected to actively engage in designing topical modules, conducting surveys, depositing datasets, and providing the scientific community with high-quality data and documentations that represent each country/region.

II. Participation
  • 2.1Participation in the EASS is limited to institutions in countries/regions within the East Asian area.
  • 2.2Participation in the EASS is by application, followed by a majority vote at the General Meeting.
  • 2.3Participation is by country/region in the East Asian area. Only one vote is available to a country/region, although multiple institutions in a country/region can coordinate together to participate in the EASS.
  • 2.4Participation is by institution(s), not by individual(s).
  • 2.5No new institutions shall be admitted to participate until a majority of existing institutions approve their intention and ability to participate in EASS activities according to the EASS Working Principles.
  • 2.6New participating institutions will acquire the right to vote after having attended their first General Meeting and after a successful deposit of their first EASS module survey data in the central archive that the EASS designates.
  • 2.7General Meetings are held normally every year. A major function of the meetings is to work on data and modules. At each meeting, the latest EASS data and the next module are carefully reviewed, discussed, and finalized, and planning for the following module begins (Drafting Group is elected).
  • 2.8Participation may be restricted by a majority vote of the members when an institution fails to conduct two successive EASS module surveys within the appropriate calendar years.
  • 2.9Institutions applying to participate in the EASS should submit a formal application with answers to Standard Questions for the Participation in the EASS (Appendix A) that concern survey methodology and procedures.
III. Decision-Making
  • 3.1The participating institutions shall appoint one of their institutions as Secretariat, renewable on a two-yearly basis. The maximum period of office for a Secretariat in succession is 4 years (2 terms). The participating institutions shall also appoint one more institution as Secretariat-Elect that is expected to take charge of activities subsequent to those impended by the Secretariat.
  • 3.2Decisions of the participating institutions, plans for meetings, and correspondence with potential new institutions will be coordinated by the Secretariat.
  • 3.3The Secretariat may ask for votes on specific matters by mail, email, fax, or other appropriate means of communication, addressed to the national coordinators for each participating institution.
  • 3.4An Executive Committee on organizational matters is elected to assist existing institutions in making decisions on participation, venues for future meetings, funding of joint activities, etc. The Executive Committee consists of the Secretariat plus each person co-opted from each country/region with having 2-year term renewable on a continuous basis.
  • 3.5The Executive Committee will organize a Drafting Group of no more than one seat for each participating country/region (one of whom shall be appointed as convener) whose task is to prepare draft questionnaires on behalf of the countries/regions.
  • 3.5.1The Drafting Group will decide how best to transact its business--whether by email, post, telephone, interim meetings, or a combination--but in any event the Group is expected to circulate draft questionnaires to all participating countries/regions by an agreed timeline.
  • 3.5.2The General Meeting is to review the draft in detail with a view to producing a final draft at the end of its deliberations. The Group is then charged with completing the design of the module and fine-tuning as necessary, in consultation with other countries/regions and the Secretariat. The final questionnaires and supporting materials will eventually be circulated by the Secretariat sometime before the onset of the module survey.
  • 3.6English is the official language for drafting, discussions, and the like.
IV. Finance
  • 4.1The participating institutions shall appoint one of their institutions as Secretariat, renewable on a two-yearly basis. The maximum period of office for a Secretariat in succession is 4 years (2 terms). The participating institutions shall also appoint one more institution as Secretariat-Elect that is expected to take charge of activities subsequent to those impended by the Secretariat.
  • 4.2The hosting institution for the General Meeting and Drafting Group Meeting provides the budget for the organization and facilities for the meeting.
  • 4.3The hosting institution of the General Meeting and Drafting Group Meeting is responsible for the participants’ travel expenses up to 2 persons for each country/region plus 1 EASSDA researcher.
V. Data Collection
  • 5.1The module topics are to be decided at the General Meeting preferably 3 years prior to the year of fieldwork operations. The module survey is fielded every second year after 2006. The same module topics are to be repeated at agreed intervals, and at least a half of the questionnaire items should be replicated for each module to qualify as a replication.
  • 5.2Every participating institution agrees to field approximately 15-minute long interviews for the module surveys. The 15-minute long interviews are generally understood to consist of 60 questionnaire items (not including the Standard Background Variables). The questionnaires should be suitable for the interviews of either interviewer-administration or self-administration, although the former is highly recommended. The questions are to be asked in a single block preferably in an identical order in each country/region, but individual questions may, when necessary, be omitted by a country/region after informing to the Executive Committee. The intention to omit items, however, must be either announced at the General Meeting or presented to the Secretariat in due time before fielding the module survey.
  • 5.3The agreed Standard Background Variables are not counted as part of the fifteen-minute block, nor do they need to be administered in a single block.
  • 5.4The sample should, in principle, be a national representative probability sample of the adult population aged 18 or over, designed to achieve a norm of 1,400 cases, and, in any event, a minimum of 1,000 cases.
  • 5.5The substitution of respondents at any stages of sampling and fielding is not allowed normally. If institutions opt to use or rely on the substitution, they are required to submit their plans and practices to the Executive Committee and obtain an approval.
  • 5.6Every participating institution is required to report details on data collection procedures as much as possible. In case when the data do not conform to the EASS standards, the Executive Committee should inform the country/region and take actions to bring its practices into compliance with the EASS standards.
VI. Data Archiving and Dissemination
  • 6.1Upon the unanimous consent of EASS-participating institutions, the central archive, called the EASSDA (East Asian Social Survey Data Archive), is responsible for standardizing, archiving, and distributing the EASS data sets.
  • 6.2The official website of the EASSDA () must be written in English and maintained on a regular basis. The website must provide the detailed overview of data collection, procedures of data access, and descriptions of charge and registration issues.
  • 6.3A single point of contact must be established in the EASSDA to handle user queries about access to the EASS data.
  • 6.4Documented data files of each participating institution, together with technical details of relevant materials (SMQ, SDF, original questionnaires, etc.), are to be sent to the EASSDA no later than September 1st in the year following the fielded year.
  • 6.5In order for the datasets to be considered as a successful archiving, they are constructed by adhering to the Standard Setup procedure that is prescribed by the EASSDA in a timely and satisfactory manner.
  • 6.6The finalization of data archiving procedures for each module should be done within two years after the fielded year. The EASSDA is expected to provide the scientific community with completely combined and harmonized datasets. The time that such datasets are publicly available is decided by the majority decision in the General Meeting.
  • 6.7In general, no charges are incurred to the access and use of the datasets. However, the EASSDA reserves the right to change this rule to new users.
  • 6.8Every other decision not specified in the EASS Working Principles is to be made by the Executive Committee.

[Appendix A] Standard Questions for the Participation in the EASS
The following questions are sent by the Secretariat to institutions that express interest in joining the EASS. The questions assume that such institutions already have an annual survey series of some sort in operation, to which they will be able to add the EASS module. If this is not the case, the institutions are asked to indicate how they plan to fund and organize the data collection.

The questions include:
  • 1What demographic background or socio-demographic variables do your questionnaires contain?
  • 2Are you prepared to extend these demographic variables if necessary to make them comparable with the EASS-participating countries/regions?
  • 3Is your sampling method a full probability method?
  • 4How is it designed?
  • 5What is the planned achieved sample size and expected response rate?
  • 6Will your data be deposited to the central archive the EASS designates and, if so, how long after the fieldworks?
  • 7How secure is the funding and where does it come from? (Note that there is no central EASS funding.)
  • 8To what extent is your survey series a continuous one?
  • 9Will you be willing to replicate the modules that we agree upon? You are able to add whatever national questions you wish at the end of the module.
  • 10Are you willing to accept English as the official language of drafting and discussions?

Applications should contain: full answers to these standard questions; a formal letter of application; details and examples of research carried out by the institution(s); an organizational profile for each institution.