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


The GESIS Panel is a unique social science data infrastructure that allows researchers to collect their own data which is based on a random sample. Data collection for scientific purposes is free of charge (exceptions: Third-party funded studies and Data Collection in Three Different Countries (OPPA)). In addition, all GESIS Panel data is available as scientific use file for secondary analyses. As part of GESIS – Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences, GESIS Panel is funded by the German federation and its federal states.

Researchers can request cross-sectional or longitudinal data collection of their survey items by submitting their studies. In combination with the GESIS Panel longitudinal core studies, which have been running almost annually since 2014, these submissions have generated a thematically diverse data set that also includes topics that are not surveyed frequently (for example willingness to pay for health insurance or attitudes towards meat consumption). GESIS Panel data bases on random samples. Respondents can participate either web-based or by mail (mixed-mode panel).

In the following, we summarize the most important information on the GESIS Panel. You will find more detailed information on data collection and data access on the respective main pages. In our FAQ, we answer the most important questions.

The central information is provided in the GESIS Panel reference article:

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.

  • Probability-based mixed-mode panel
  • Start: February 2014 (Development phase 2013)
  • More than 5200 panelists (April 2023)
  • Participation mode: online (web-based) or offline (by mail)
    • about 75% of respondents participate online
  • Data collection: every three months (a total of four waves per year)
    • Six waves per year with bi-monthly data collection until 2020
  • Survey duration: 20-25 minutes per wave
    • about seven minutes for the GESIS Panel longitudinal core studies
    • remaining survey time for submitted studies, i.e. a maximum of five minutes per submitted study
  • 2013: Probabilistic sample of the German-speaking population aged between 18 and 70 years (at the time of recruitment) and permanently resident in Germany
  • 2014: The first, initial cohort of the GESIS Panel comprised about 4900 panelists
  • 2016: 1st refreshment sample was drawn from the German General Social Survey (ALLBUS)
  • 2018: 2nd refreshment sample was drawn from the German General Social Survey (ALLBUS)
  • 2021: 3rd refreshment sample was drawn from the German study of the International Social Survey Programme (ISSP)
    • All refreshment samples consist of respondents aged 18 and above
  • 2023: The GESIS Panel currently contains four cohorts (2013, 2016, 2018 and 2021) with about 5200 panelists in total (April 2023)
  • We offer various submission options for scientists.
  • All regularly submitted studies are subject to a peer review process.
  • The GESIS Panel does not accept commercial projects. Should you have any doubts or questions as to whether your specific research project might cause conflicts between these interests, responsibilities, and regulations, please do not hesitate to contact us (see below).
  • When making the final decision to accept or refuse a proposal, the GESIS Panel Team has to balance various interests, responsibilities, and regulations, namely (a) legal regulations and ethical standards; (b) GESIS' responsibility to protect the integrity of panelists; (c) GESIS' interest in maintaining an unbiased panel (e.g., by avoiding panel attrition and differential drop-out likely to be induced by certain topics and experimental procedures); (d) the interest of the primary and secondary researchers in collecting and using survey data.
  • Data collection and use for scientific purposes is free of charge (exceptions: Third-party funded studies and Data Collection in Three Different Countries (OPPA)).
  • Studies funded by third-party applications must contribute to survey costs if the GESIS Panel reserves survey time in specific waves in advance. If you plan to conduct a third-party funded survey in the GESIS Panel, please contact us at least one year before the start of the project.

Do you still have a question about data collection with the GESIS Panel or about our using our data for secondary analysis? Then you have the opportunity to contact us here.