News of the WeekSocial Science

Survey to Reveal True Face of Chinese Society

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Science  30 Apr 2010:
Vol. 328, Issue 5978, pp. 554-555
DOI: 10.1126/science.328.5978.554

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This month, scores of interviewers dispersed across China for the start of a study that aims to document everything from emotional stress to family planning. They expect to reach 60,000 respondents in 25 provinces—making the survey the largest undertaking of its kind in the developing world. The Chinese Family Panel Studies, as the project is called, should provide abundant fodder for data-starved social scientists hoping to track how China's rapid development is shaping societal values, say the sociologists who designed the new survey. Through this year's baseline survey and annual follow-up visits, they say, researchers will be able to document some of the biggest changes in history.