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How the SOM Institute came about

Researchers at the University of Gothenburg took the initiative to open the SOM Institute in 1986.

In 1986, Sören Holmberg and Lennart Weibull, two empirically oriented researchers with backgrounds in political science at the University of Gothenburg, set out to develop a sophisticated instrument that could be used to study attitudes and behaviour in the Swedish population. Their focus on Society, Opinions and Mass media resulted in the acronym SOM.

Lennart Nilsson at the School of Public Administration initiated the regional SOM surveys a few years later.

The first national survey was carried out in the autumn of 1986. The research community showed great interest in the study, which led to the decision to make National SOM a recurring annual survey aimed at long term tendencies. Over the years, National SOM has been extended in terms of both number of questions and sample size, but its aim of exploring Swedes' opinions and how people's attitudes and behaviour change over time has remained the same. The great impact of the national surveys led to the development of regional surveys.

The national and regional surveys constitute the core of the SOM Institute's activities.

In addition to the national and regional surveys, the Institute conducts a number of more specialised surveys. These are usually carried out in collaboration with various individual research projects, but also together with external actors if the tasks involved are compatible with the Institute's profile.

The SOM Institute

The SOM Institute
Box 710
S-405 30 Gothenburg

Visiting Address:
Seminariegatan 1B
413 13 Gothenburg

46 (0)31 786 3300

46 (0)31 786 4780


Page Manager: The SOM-institute|Last update: 7/21/2016

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