|The Northern Ireland Social Attitudes (NISA) survey series began in 1989, and was conducted every year in which the British Social Attitudes (BSA) survey was fielded until 1996. Supported initially by the Nuffield Foundation, the Central Community Relations Unit (CCRU) and the Policy Planning Research Unit (PPRU - now the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency), the NISA series is currently funded by all of the main Northern Ireland Departments. NISA has not been conducted since 1996, but was replaced by the Northern Ireland Life and Times Survey series (NILT), held at UKDA under SN:33312, which began in 1998, and its corresponding Young Life and Times Survey (YLT) series (held under GN:33313), which surveys young people aged 12-17 living in the households of adults interviewed for NILT.
Like its companion survey, British Social Attitudes, NISA was designed to complement large-scale government surveys (such as the Continuous Household Survey and the Quarterly Labour Force Survey) which collect mainly factual and behavioural data. Its main purpose was to allow the monitoring of patterns of continuity and change, and the examination of the relative rates at which attitudes, in respect of a range of social issues, change over time. NISA thus allows direct comparison of the attitudes, values and beliefs held by UK citizens on either side of the Irish Sea. Data users should, however, note that the two sets of data cannot be combined to produce UK data.
Alongside a 'core' number of questions on (for example) public spending, welfare benefits, the labour market and community relations - and all the demographic and other classificatory variables - the NISA surveys also contained many of the questionnaire modules asked in that year's BSA survey, including questions (modules) on a range of social, economic, political and moral issues - some asked regularly, others less of ten. In addition, each year the NISA questionnaire included a special module of questions on topics close to the particular concerns of the province, such as constitutional arrangements, security measures, the perceived evenhandedness of institutions and community relations. Some of these questions were asked in Great Britain too, so allowing comparison of the attitudes of those living in Northern Ireland with the attitudes of people in Great Britain. See GN:33168 for the BSA surveys.