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A Probability-Based Mixed-Mode Panel for the Social Sciences

Frequently Asked Questions

Using our data

Please check our documentation, especially our codebook and study descriptions. There you can find all questions and items already included in the GESIS Panel.

The GESIS Panel data are available via the GESIS Data Archive. Here you will find more detailed information about our data and data access.

Publishing with our data

Researchers are required to cite the data set they use in publications with the correct ZA version number and DOI. Here is an example citation for version 41.0.0 of both data sets.

GESIS (2021). GESIS Panel Standard Edition. GESIS Data Archive, Cologne. ZA5665 Datafile Version 41.0.0, doi: 10.4232/1.13785
GESIS (2021). GESIS Panel Extended Edition. GESIS Data Archive, Cologne. ZA5664 Datafile Version 41.0.0, doi: 10.4232/1.13784

To enable others to replicate the results, we ask researchers to cite the data set (Standard or Extended Edition) and the version they have used for their publication (and not to use the most current version by default).

If you have used data from our special SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus survey in your publication, please cite them as follows:

GESIS (2020): GESIS Panel Special Survey on the Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 Outbreak in Germany. GESIS Data Archive, Cologne. ZA5667 Datafile Version 1.1.0, doi: 10.4232/1.13520

Additionally, please refer to the GESIS Panel reference paper in publications that are based on the GESIS Panel data set:

Bosnjak, M., Dannwolf, T., Enderle, T., Schaurer, I., Struminskaya, B., Tanner, A., & Weyandt K. W. (2018). Establishing an open probability-based mixed mode panel of the general population in Germany: The GESIS Panel. Social Science Computer Review, 36(1): 103-115.

Please send us a message to info(at)gesis-panel(dot)org and we will assist you.

Applying for a data collection

A survey data collection with the GESIS Panel is open to all researchers at universities and non-commercial research institutes. We welcome proposals from various social science fields, such as sociology, psychology, political science, economics, and criminology. The GESIS Panel does not accept commercial projects.

Data collection for student theses is only possible via the supervisor. However, the time frame from application to publication of the data must be considered. For this reason, data collection for such purposes is usually impractical. This also applies to data collection as part of teaching research projects.

For a data collection within the scope of a Short Submission or Regular Submission, you will find detailed information on the application process as well as the corresponding forms on the respective pages.

We welcome proposals in English because our review procedure may involve international reviewers. Survey instruments may be submitted either in German or in English. However, because GESIS Panel surveys are fielded only in German, English instruments must be translated into German after positive peer review of the proposal. Translation costs must be borne by those submitting the proposal.

A data collection with the GESIS Panel in the context of a Short Submission or Regular Submission is free of charge. A contribution to the costs of data collection is only necessary for data collection within the framework of planned or already funded third-party projects or for international comparative data collection within the framework of the Open Probability-based Panel Alliance (OPPA).

There are no submission deadlines for a data collection with the GESIS Panel (except for specific Calls for Submission). However, please note that a) the application process can take several months (especially in the case of a Regular Submission) b) our four annual survey waves are mostly fully booked in short notice and c) the publication of the data usually takes place 8-12 months after the end of the survey. Data collection with the GESIS Panel should therefore be planned well in advance.

Planning the research design for your data collection

You can collect both cross-sectional and longitudinal data with the GESIS Panel. In the case of a longitudinal (panel) study, the GESIS Panel Team will consider your wishes concerning the preferred period between the survey waves.

Experimental designs can be implemented in the context of a Regular Submission, a (planned) third-party funded project or a data collection within OPPA. In combination with a longitudinal design, experiments with constant or changing group membership over time are also possible. Please note, however, that due to the paper questionnaire no more than four experimental groups can be implemented.

The following demographic variables are collected: month and year of birth; citizenship; country of birth of the respondent; year of immigration; country of birth of the respondent's mother; country of birth of the respondent's father; marital status; if single/widowed: has a life partner/joint household with partner; school leaving certificate; intended school-leaving qualification; vocational training; university degree; employment status; labor force status; occupational group; number of children under 16 living in the household; income of the respondent; household income. Please check the questionnaire "Socio-Demographic Update" in our Longitudinal Core Studies.

Your questionnaire must address the entire sample, i.e. surveys that are aimed exclusively or largely at certain groups alone (e.g. employed persons, women, older persons, respondents from certain federal states) are not possible.

Before submitting, please check our codebook to see if your question(s) has already been collected in the GESIS Panel. The query of similar questions or the replication of already implemented studies is possible in justified cases. This must be explained in detail in the submission.

Surveys on sensitive/very private topics (e.g., deviant behavior, sexuality) are not possible, as this could have a negative impact on the prospective willingness of our panelists to participate.

Designing your questionnaire

Unfortunately, the use of video or audio files is not possible, nor is recourse to more complex question formats (e.g. ranking questions). This is due to the fact that some of our panelists participate in GESIS Panel surveys with a paper questionnaire. Thus, the questions must be designed in such a way that they can be asked (and answered) easily in this mode as well. We can integrate images into the surveys under certain circumstances. We decide this on a case-by-case basis and against the background of compatibility with our questionnaire layout.

Randomization of questions or answer options is also not possible, as we cannot implement this in the paper questionnaire.

The maximum survey time for a Short Submission is one minute and for a Regular Submission five minutes. These limits refer to our time measurement, which we perform after the submission of your questionnaire. Please see the Short Submission page for a rough guide to our time measurement.

The GESIS Panel implements a mobile-first design in which all scales are arranged vertically. We also apply this design to the paper questionnaire. Among other things, this results in so-called matrix questions being converted into vertically arranged single-item questions. In addition, there are a number of other specifications regarding the design of our questionnaire. These are all presented in our GESIS Panel Style Guide. Please familiarize yourself with this document prior to your submission.

Since the population of the GESIS Panel is the German resident population aged at least 18 years, the data collection is conducted exclusively in German. However, for the documentation and international usability of the GESIS Panel, a translation of the questions into English is necessary. If you wish to use questions or scales that were originally developed (and tested) in English and for which a German translation is not yet available, we reserve the right to request a professional translation into German in individual cases.

Receiving your data

The preparation of the data from both survey modes, their documentation and archiving are time-consuming processes. Therefore, the publication of the data is currently expected approximately 8-12 months after the survey has been conducted. With the publication of your data, it will also be available to all other data users.

Provided that your application to use the Standard Edition or Extended Edition has been approved, you will not only receive the data from your survey, but all data that have been collected within the GESIS Panel since its introduction. This allows you to use a wide range of background variables for your analyses.