For each wave, suggestions for questions are solicited by social scientists from all over the world and a final master questionnaire is developed in English. Since the start in 1981 each successive wave has covered a broader range of societies than the previous one. Analysis of the data from each wave has indicated that certain questions tapped interesting and important concepts while others were of little value. This has led to the more useful questions or themes being replicated in future waves while the less useful ones have been dropped making room for new questions.
The questionnaire is translated into the various national languages and in many cases independently translated back to English to check the accuracy of the translation. In most countries, the translated questionnaire is pre-tested to help identify questions for which the translation is problematic. In some cases certain problematic questions are omitted from the national questionnaire.
The most recent, WVS-7 questionnaire, has been finalized by the Executive Committee and the Scientific Advisory Committee of the Association in November, 2016. The questionnaire is being used in the survey fieldwork of WVS wave 7 in 2017-2021. This questionnaire includes items from previous WVS waves retained for over time analysis, items suggested by social and political scientists within the open call for topics, and items designed specifically for WVS wave 7.
WVS-7 questionnaire is an extensive research tool comprising of 290 questions and measuring cultural values, attitudes and beliefs towards gender, family, and religion, attitudes and experience of poverty, education, health, and security, social tolerance and trust, attitudes towards multilateral institutions, cultural differences and similarities between regions and societies. In addition, the WVS-7 questionnaire has been elaborated with the inclusion of such new topics as the issues of justice, moral principles, corruption, accountability and risk, migration, national security and global governance. The 7th wave survey is also contributing towards monitoring the set of Sustainable Development Goals and the targets defined by the UN post-2015 agenda.
WVS-7 questionnaire is structured along 14 thematic sub-sections, including demography, as following:
- social values, attitudes & stereotypes (45 items);
- societal well-being (11 items);
- social capital, trust and organizational membership (49 items);
- economic values (6 items);
- corruption (9 items);
- migration (10 items);
- post-materialist index (6 items);
- science & technology (6 items);
- religious values (12 items);
- security (21 items);
- ethical values & norms (23 items);
- political interest and political participation (36 items);
- political culture and political regimes (25 items);
- demography (31 items).