Survey on discrimination and hate crime against Jews in EU Member States - Questions & Answers on the survey methodology

This is a brief overview of how the FRA survey on discrimination and hate crime against Jews in EU Member States was carried out. More detailed information can be found in the Technical Report

1. Who were the survey respondents?

In total, 5,847 Jewish respondents filled in the questionnaire from 8 EU Member States:

EU Member States Respondents EU Member States Respondents

Belgium

438

Italy

649

France

1,192

Latvia

154

Germany

608

Sweden

810

Hungary

528

United Kingdom

1,469

In terms of socio-demographic characteristics the respondents can be broken down as:

    % Number

Sex

Male

43

2,529

Female

57

3,318

Age

16-29

11

667

30-44

21

1,198

45-59

28

1,630

60+

40

2,352

Education

No higher education

25

1,474

Higher education

75

4,373

A further breakdown is available in the technical report.

2. Why, when and how was the survey carried out?

Policy makers lack data when trying to effectively prevent antisemitic crimes and protect potential victims. They need detailed information on the extent and nature of antisemitic offences. Only 13 out of 28 EU Member States collect administrative data on antisemitic crime. However, as countries differ in their approach to data collection, national data are often not comparable.

FRA’s survey is the first to collect comparable data on Jewish people’s experiences and perceptions of antisemitism, hate-motivated crime and discrimination across a number of EU Member States.

The survey sought the views of self-identifying Jewish people living in the survey countries. This was irrespective of whether or not they perceive antisemitism as a major problem, or have directly witnessed or experienced an antisemitic incident. In this way, the report draws a detailed and sophisticated portrait of contemporary antisemitism across Europe, as it is both perceived and experienced by Jews in selected EU Member States. It is the first such survey to provide comparable data on the perceived extent and nature of antisemitism across a number of EU Member States, whether it is manifested as hate crime, hate speech, discrimination or any other form that undermines Jewish people’s feelings of safety and security. The results will help support policy makers and other stakeholders in tackling discrimination and hate crime against Jews across the EU.

The survey report presents comparative results for eight EU Member States: Belgium, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Sweden and the United Kingdom. These Member States cover 90% of the Jews living in the EU. Data was also collected from Romania. However, due to the small number of responses received the results from Romania are not included in the main analysis – instead, an overview of the results for Romania is an annex in the results report. It is estimated that there are 1,027,100 Jews in the nine survey countries (the eight countries included in the comparative analysis plus Romania) compared to 1,109,000 in the entire EU.

The respondents were aged 16 years and over, who identified themselves as Jewish. The survey was made available online, from 3 September to 8 October 2012 in 11 languages: Dutch, English, French, German, Hebrew, Hungarian, Italian, Latvian, Romanian, Russian and Swedish. In total, 5,847 Jewish respondents filled in the questionnaire succesfully. FRA aimed to survey 4,500 Jews, or 500 per country. The largest samples were obtained from the two countries with the largest estimated Jewish communities: France and the United Kingdom.

The initial screening questions prevented 82% of the 18,332 respondents who started the survey from continuing. This was mainly because they lived in any other country than the 8 selected for the survey.

3. How representative are the results ?

Only internet access was needed to take part in the survey, ensuring all selected countries could be reached equally. The online survey methodology allowed all interested self-identified Jews in the survey countries to take part. However, it does not, deliver a random probability sample fulfilling the statistical criteria for representativeness. Although the results cannot be considered as representative of all Jewish people in the EU, they constitute by far the largest collection of empirical evidence on discrimination, hate crime and antisemitism against Jews in Europe to date.

4. Why was the survey conducted online?

This methodology was selected after consultation with key experts because it has particular advantages for the purpose of the survey. It was not possible to use random probability sampling because reasonable sampling frames for the entire Jewish population are not available in the selected EU Member States. To explore ways of improving the representativeness of online surveys, the data were collected in two stages. The first stage used respondent-driven sampling (RDS) but did not succeed in bringing in an adequate number of responses. RDS is a new statistical method that was developed to survey hard-to-reach groups of people – that is, groups that are small in number and geographically spread out, and for which there is little or no information that could be used for sampling purposes. It asks the people who are being surveyed to recruit other eligible people for the survey and then mathematically corrects (weighs) the figures to compensate for the lack of randomness when contacting the respondents. In the second stage, the online survey was open to all self-identifying Jews who were 16 year of age or older, and living in one of the selected EU Member States. This online survey guaranteed anonymity and confidientiality, and allowed a broader spectrum of the Jewish population to be reached compared with more traditional approaches.

5. How did the survey achieve participation of Jewish respondents?

In order to reach eligible respondents, awareness-raising activities both before and during the open online survey were carried out. In most Member States the response rates exceeded or were in line with expectations given the relative size of the Jewish population in each country. A ninth country, Romania, was originally selected to be covered in the survey. As Romania has a relatively small Jewish population and internet penetration is comparably low, extra efforts were made to boost responses rates. However, because of the low number of responses (67), the data obtained from Romania is summarised in an annex to the survey results report.
The online survey was therefore identified as the most appropriate methodology as Jewish populations tend to have high levels of internet access and are relatively well-educated. As respondents only needed an interet connection, respondents could participate in the survey when and where it was most convenient for them, limiting non-response due to inconvenient timing of interviews.

6. Could someone complete the survey multiple times to influence the results?

The length of the survey and time needed to complete it (on average 32 minutes), combined with the concentration and attention required for completion would discourage multiple responses from the same person. FRA deliberately allowed multiple survey responses from the same internet address (or Internet Protocol, IP), despite the risk of duplication. This protected confidentiality and anonymity, and encouraged participation from people without personal internet access (for example via internet cafés). All data were checked once the fieldwork was finished. To exclude data from anyone who might have completed the survey more than once, there was a checking process to calculate how similar each respondent’s answers were to other responses in the sample. The process revealed that very few respondents shared similar answer patterns. Overall, five respondents were removed from the dataset for various reasons. The research team concluded that similarities did not warrant removing any further cases than those five. 

7. Which topics were covered by the questionnaire and how was it prepared?

The survey collected data on the effects of antisemitism in respondents’ daily lives, their feelings of safety and any actions they may take in response to safety concerns. The questionnaire included questions about personal experiences of specific forms of harassment, vandalism and violence. It also collected data about personal experiences of discrimination against Jews on different grounds and in various areas of everyday life – for example at work, school or when using specific services. It explored the level of rights awareness regarding antidiscrimination legislation, victim support organisations and knowledge of any legislation concerning trivialisation or denial of the Holocaust.

When preparing the survey, FRA reviewed existing surveys on Jewish populations, and consulted with experts on Jewish community studies, and representatives of Jewish community organisations and policy makers. The desk research, and expert and stakeholder consultations, helped shape the choice of survey methodology and the topics covered.

8. Could non-Jewish people complete the survey?

In a survey, online or not, it is not possible to verify the authenticity of respondent’s answers. The survey aimed to identify what self-identifed Jewish people themselves think and experience. Therefore, the survey started with a self-identification question that allowed only those identifying themselves as Jewish to continue. Neverthless, a number of survey questions were also used to filter and secure the participation of Jewish people. As expected, the vast majority of drop-outs occurred at the first questions, mainly those who were curious but did not want to participate. Some did not meet the eligibility criteria (consider themselves Jewish or did not live in one of the EU Member States surveyed). Another parameter to check the reliability of the responses is by analysing the socio-demographic characteristics of the sample. More men (57%) than women (43%) took part in the survey, and contrary to many online surveys, 68% of the respondents are 45 years old or older, while the youngest age group (16-29 years) comprises 11% of respondents. These demographic characteristics are in line with survey awareness raising efforts and might reflect the ageing of Jewish population in the eight Member States.  

9. If the participation of Jewish people in the survey differed from country to country how can you ensure the results are comparable?

The number of respondents who filled in the survey questionnaire in the selected EU Member States roughly mirrors the size of the Jewish population in these countries. Before and during the data collection, awareness raising efforts took place in each of the countries to inform people about the survey and to encourage responses. By using the same data collection methodology and the same questionnaire – translated into eleven languages – FRA aimed to ensure comparability of the results.

10. How was the privacy, anonymity and confidentiality of respondents assured?

FRA took several measures to guarantee data security, privacy and confidentiality of the survey respondents. To ensure privacy, the survey did not collect personal details of individual respondents or their computers (such as IP address). Only information that was relevant to the topic, analysis of the data, and for administering the survey were collected. The web session during the time the online questionnaire was being filled in by a respondent was protected using high security internet protocols, with no option to access the survey in an unprotected insecure mode. The data collection and the analysis process were performed without reference to any personal or sensitive data capable of identifying people. This guaranteed full confidentiality of the information provided. Throughout the survey respondents had access to detailed information on how the data provided by them will be stored and processed.
 

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Survey on discrimination and hate crime against Jews in EU Member States - Questions & Answers on the survey methodology

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