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  1. Rory Fitzgerald

portrait of Rory Fitzgerald

Rory Fitzgerald

Senior research fellow

School of Arts and Social Sciences, Department of Sociology

Contact Information


Visit Rory

DG18, Rhind Building


Postal Address

City University London
Northampton Square



Mr Rory Fitzgerald has been a Senior Research Fellow at City University London since 2004, and became Deputy Director of its Centre for Comparative Social Surveys in 2007, and its Acting Director in 2012. From 2013 he also became the Director of the European Social Survey (ESS) and oversees the ESS Core Scientific Team (CST).

The ESS is a rigorous comparative survey of changing attitudes and values in and between 34 European countries. With other members of the CST he was awarded the Descartes Prize in 2005 for 'excellence in collaborative scientific research'. In November 2013 the UK and 14 other European governments established the European Social Survey as a European research Infrastructure Consortium (ESS ERIC) – an independent international research organisation hosted at City University London. Rory is the first Director of ESS ERIC.


MSc (Econ) European Politics, University of Wales, 1996
BSc (Econ) Politics, University of Wales, 1995


10/2012 - to date City University London, ESS Director
01/2012 - 10/2012 City University London, CCSS Acting Director
10/2007 - 01/2012 City University London, CCSS Deputy Director
05/2004 - 10/2007 Cty University London, CCSS, Senior Research Fellow
10/1999 - 05/2004 National Centre for Social Research, Researcher/Senior Researcher/Reserach Director
11/1996 - 10/1999 The Gallup Organization, Research Executive

Membership of professional bodies

2008 European Survey Research Association, Member
2009 World Association of Public Opinion Research, Member
2010 - 2013 UCU City University Branch, Vice President


Working with other colleagues in CCSS on the transition of the ESS into a European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ERIC). The first financial input for City is anticipated to be from December 2013 onwards. In addition, successfully submitted a proposal with Sarah Butt in collaboration with the LSE and jointly will shortly submit a further application to the ESRC under their open call.

In early summer 2013 launched the ESS findings booklet that received significant media attention for both the ESS and City University London.


Mr Fitzgerald's key area of expertise is cross-national survey methodology with a focus on questionnaire design and pre-testing as well as non response issues. He also played a leading role in the ESS preparatory phase and the establishment of the ESS as an ERIC.

Prior to joining City, Mr Fitzgerald was a Research Director at the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen), having previously worked at Gallup where specialised in political opinion polling.


Journal Article (8)

  1. Fitzgerald, R., Winstone, L. and Prestage, Y. (01 Sep 2014). Searching For Evidence of Acculturation: Attitudes Toward Homosexuality Among Migrants Moving From Eastern to Western Europe. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF PUBLIC OPINION RESEARCH, 26(3), 323-341. doi: 10.1093/ijpor/edu021
  2. Fitzgerald, R., Widdop, S., Gray, M. and Collins, D. (Dec 2011). Identifying sources of error in cross-national questionnaires: application of an error source typology to cognitive interview data. Journal of Official Statistics, 27(4), 1-32.
  3. Jackson, J., Bradford, B., Hough, M., Kuha, J., Stares, S., Widdop, S., Fitzgerald, R., Yordanova, M. and Galev, T. (01 Jul 2011). Developing European indicators of trust in justice. European Journal of Criminology, 8(4), 267-285. doi: 10.1177/1477370811411458
  4. Miller, K., Fitzgerald, R., Padilla, J., Wilson, S., Widdop, S., Caspar, R., Dimov, M., Gray, M., Nunes, C., Prufer, P. and Schoua-Glusberg, A. (2011). Design and Analysis of Cognitive Interviews for Comparative Cross-National Testing. Field Methods.
  5. Miller, K., Fitzgerald, R., Padilla, J.L., Willson, S., Widdop, S., Caspar, R., Dimov, M., Gray, M., Nunes, C., Prüfer, P., Schöbi, N. and Schoua-Glusberg, A. (01 Nov 2011). Design and analysis of cognitive interviews for comparative multinational testing. Field Methods, 23(4), 379-396. doi: 10.1177/1525822X11414802
  6. Fitzgerald, R., Widdop, S., Gray, M. and Collins, D. (Dec 2011). Identifying Sources of Error in Cross-national Questionnaires: Application of an Error Source Typology to Cognitive Interview Data. JOURNAL OF OFFICIAL STATISTICS, 27(4), 569-599.
  7. Billiet, J., Philippens, M., Fitzgerald, R. and Stoop, I. (2007). Estimation of Response bias in The European Social Survey: using information from reluctant respondents in Round One. Journal of Official Statistics, 23(2), 135-162.
  8. Eikemo, T., Bambra, C., Huijts, T. and Fitzgerald, R. (). The first pan-European sociological health inequalities survey of the general population: the European Social Survey (ESS) rotating module on the social determinants of health. European Sociological Review.

Book (2)

  1. Stoop, I.A.L., Billiet, J., Koch, A. and Fitzgerald, R. (10 May 2010). Improving survey response: Lessons from the European Social Survey. John Wiley & Sons Inc. ISBN: 0470516690.
  2. (2007). Measuring attitudes cross-nationally: Lessons from the European Social Survey. SAGE.

Chapter (8)

  1. Winstone, L., Widdop, S. and Fitzgerald, R. (03 Mar 2016). Constructing the Questionnaire: the Challenges of Measuring Views and Evaluations of Democracy Across Europe. Ferrin, M. and Kriesi, H. (Ed.), How Europeans View and Evaluate Democracy (pp. 21-42) UK: Oxford University Press.

    [publisher's website]

  2. Butt, S. and Fitzgerald, R. (2014). Critical consensus? Britain’s expectations and evaluations of democracy. Park, A., Bryson, C. and Curtice, J. (Ed.), British Social Attitudes 2014 ed. 31st report (pp. 1-24) (31). London: NatCen Social Research. ISBN: 1907236333.

    [publisher's website]

  3. Fitzgerald, R., Harrison, E. and Ryan, L. (01 May 2013). The ESS: a social science research infrastructure for Europe and beyond. Kleiner, B., Renschler, I., Wernli, B., Farago, P. and Joye, D. (Ed.), Understanding Research Infrastructures in the Social Sciences Seismo Verlag. ISBN: 303777133X.
  4. Fitzgerald, R., Harrison, E. and Steinmaier, F. (2011). Age identity and conflict: Myths and realities. Park, A., Clery, E., Curtice, J., Phillips, M. and Utting, D. (Ed.), British Social Attitudes (pp. ) SAGE. ISBN: 184920666X.
  5. Fitzgerald, R. and Jowell, R. (2010). Measurement Equivalence in Comparative Surveys: The European Social Survey – From design to implementation and beyond. Harkness, J.A., Vijver, F.J.R.V.D. and Mohler, P.P. (Ed.), Cross-cultural survey methods (pp. ) Wiley-Interscience. ISBN: 0471385263.
  6. Harrison, E. and Fitzgerald, R. (15 Jan 2010). ‘A chorus of disapproval? European attitudes to non-traditional family patterns. Park, A., Curtice, J., Thomson, K., Phillips, M., Clery, E. and Butt, S. (Ed.), British Social Attitudes (pp. ) SAGE. ISBN: 1849203873.
  7. Harrison, E., Jowell, R. and Fitzgerald, R. (2007). Non-respondents in the European Social Survey: in a class of their own?. Loosveldt, G., Swyngedouw, M. and Cambré, B. (Ed.), Measuring meaningful data in social research (pp. ) Leuven: Acco NR. ISBN: 9033468298.
  8. Jowell, R., Kaase, M., Fitzgerald, R. and Eva, G. (2007). The European Social Survey as a measurement model. Jowell, R. and Britain, C.F.C.S.S.G. (Ed.), Measuring attitudes cross-nationally (pp. ) Sage Publications Ltd. ISBN: 1412919819.

Thesis/Dissertation (1)

  1. Fitzgerald, R. (24 Feb 2016). Striving for quality, comparability and transparency in cross-national social survey measurement: illustrations from the European Social Survey (ESS). (PhD Thesis).

Internet Publication (1)

  1. Fitzgerald, R., Winstone, L. and Prestage, Y. (12 Aug 2014). A Versatile tool? Applying the Cross-national Error Source Typology (CNEST) to triangulated pre-test data Retrieved from: [publisher's website]

Other Activities

Keynote Lectures/Speeches (10)

  • Facilitating triangulation of pretesting techniques through improved documentation of (cross-national) questionnaire development, 2009, Warsaw, Poland. 3rd ESRA Conference
  • Responding to cross-national diversity and change over time. An analysis of possible revisions to the ESS Partnership and Life Course Questions, 2010, Lausanne, Switzerland. Invited Paper, 7th CSDI workshop
  • Inputs and Outputs in Comparative Studies, 2010, Gothenburg, Sweden. Invited paper, World Congress of Sociology
  • Challenges in comparative questionnaire design: Illustrations from the European Social Survey, 2011, Lausanne, Switzerland. 5th ESRA Conference
  • Mode Effects in Complex Questions, Nov 2012, Cyprus. ESS International Conference
  • Translation Verification in the European Social Survey – a comparison of rounds 5 and round 6 and implications for the future, Nov 2012, Cyprus. ESS International Conference
  • From East to West: the impact of intra-European emigration on social attitudes, Nov 2012, Cyprus. ESS International Conference
  • A Versatile Tool? The Cross National Error Source Typology (CNEST): An Application to Triangulated Pre-test Data, 2013, Boston. American Association of Public Opinion Research Conference
  • Acculturation and attitudes towards homosexuality: Moving from East to West Europe, 2013, Boston. World Association of Public Opinion Conference, 14-16 May.
  • A decade of attitudinal measurement: What the European Social Survey tells us about the people of Europe, 2013, Dublin. Keynote Talk, International Conference on the ESS, June 10-11

Editorial Activities (2)

  • 2013 Survey Research Methods, Associate Editor
  • 2013 International Journal of Public Opinion Research Editorial Board

Other Activities (3)

  • 2008 Comparative Survey Design Implementation Workshop, Invited Member
  • 2009 - 2010 NORFACE Data Collection Expert Panel
  • 2010 - to date ESRC Peer Review College