Erasmus University Rotterdam
Published in: Glatzer, W., VonBelow, S. ; Stoffregen, M. (eds.), Challenges for quality of life in the contemporary world: Advances in quality-of-life studies, theory and research, Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht The Netherlands, 2004, Social Indicators Research Series, vol. 24, ISBN 1-4020-2890-3 (e-book 1-4020-2903-9)
The World Database of Happiness is an ongoing register of scientific research on subjective appreciation of life. It brings together findings that are scattered throughout many studies and prepares for research synthesis. The database stores research findings and presents these in standardized abstracts. This system differs from bibliographies that store publications and data-archives that store investigations. The system prepares for synthetic analysis by capitalizing on conceptual selectiveness, comparability and completeness. As the method is new, there is no common word for it. It is called a finding-browser.
The data system consists of five related inventories: 1) a focused bibliography, 2) a collection of valid indicators, 3) two catalogs of distributional findings, 4) a catalog of correlational findings and 5) a directory of investigatorsin this field. Selection of the data involves two steps: first selection of research reports on the basis of fit with a definition of the subject matter and second by restricting to findings yielded with indicators that pass a validity selection. The thus selected findings are described in standard abstracts that use a common terminology and statistics.
The database allows selection of findings by a) indicator used, b) public, time and place, c) methodology of the investigation. The correlational findings can also be found on subject. The system prepares for synthetic studies, in particular for reviews and meta-analyses. The system facilitates comparison across time and nation. When applied on a well-defined field, it allows a better accumulation of available knowledge and a better focusing of new research. The data-system serves to cope with the following problems of research integration, a) chronic confusion of tongues, b) growing mass of research findings; c) scattered publication of findings, and d) selective reviewing and retrieval of findings.
The database is freely available on the Web. The Internet address is: http://www2.eur.nl/fsw.eur.nl/research/happiness (now http://worlddatabaseofhappiness.eur.nl)