The ISSP was founded with the intention to conduct surveys on topics relevant to social sciences. The list of modules currently comprises of:
- Role of Government
- Social Networks
- Social Inequality
- Family and Changing Gender Roles
- Work Orientations
- National Identity
- Leisure Time and Sports
- Health and Health Care
The survey programme regularly responds to current developments in social sciences by including new topics or developing new modules. The latest additions are the modules Health and Health Care in 2011 and Digital Societies, which was voted for ISSP module 2024.
The subtopics of the module vary with every new wave. During the annual meeting, the ISSP members democratically vote on the thematic emphasis of the upcoming module which serves as guidance for the drafting group.