Methodological Framework

The WJS 2012–2016

The recent wave of the WJS is based on a common methodological framework to allow for tight, cross-national comparison. The framework was collaboratively developed by the members of the network in 2010 and 2011. The WJS Center at the LMU Munich has centrally coordinated the field work.

The methodological framework was turned into a Field Manual that contained specific instructions about the most crucial aspects of the study. The instructions required all participating teams to conduct representative surveys of working journalists from all kinds of media and news beats. Country samples had to stay within a maximum error margin of five percent in order to be accepted for the WJS. Sampling strategies varied across countries depending on contextual conditions (availability of media directories or of lists of journalists, etc.).

All national teams were required to use the same questionnaire, which they translated into their respective languages. The master questionnaire contained mandatory key questions as well as optional items. National teams were free to add their own questions to the questionnaire. The WJS Center has prioritized methodological integrity over territorial coverage. As a consequence, a number of countries were excluded from the Study, as their questionnaires and field procedures deviated substantively from the common methodological framework.

The WJS Center in Munich centrally coordinated data processing and cross-validation. The Center checked all incoming data for errors, inconsistencies, and data fraud. A Data Sharing Protocol rules the conditions with regard to data ownership, data management and protection, and data sharing.