GESIS Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences: Go to homepage

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

FAQ: Collecting data with the GESIS Panel

Here you will find answers to the most important questions regarding a planned data collection with the GESIS Panel.

1. Who can collect data with the GESIS Panel?
A survey data collection with the GESIS Panel is open to all researchers at universities and non-commercial research institutes. There are no restrictions with regard to scientific discipline.

2. Can students collect data for theses or in the context of teaching research 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 (see question 5). For this reason, data collection for such purposes is usually impractical. This also applies to data collection as part of teaching research projects.

3. How much does a data collection with the GESIS Panel cost?
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).

4. How can I apply for a data collection with the GESIS Panel?
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. For data collection in the context of a (planned) third-party funded project or OPPA, you should contact us at an early stage. We will be happy to provide you with a non-binding and individual offer.

5. What are the deadlines for submission?
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.

6. Can I also collect cross-sectional data with the GESIS Panel?
Yes, with the GESIS Panel you can collect both cross-sectional and longitudinal data.

7. Can I also implement experimental designs in the GESIS Panel?
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.

8. Do I have to survey the entire panel or can I also survey a subsample?
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.

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

10. May the questionnaire contain media such as video, image or audio files?
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.

11. May the questionnaire contain randomized questions or randomized response options for individual questions?
Randomization of questions or answer options is also not possible, as we cannot implement this in the paper questionnaire.

12. May I replicate questions from the GESIS panel?
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.

13. How many questions may I ask or how long may my questionnaire be?
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.

14. What to consider when designing my questions?
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.

15. May I ask matrix/grid questions?
Matrix/grid questions cannot be collected due to the mobile-first design (see question 14). We convert these into vertically arranged single-item questions.

16. In which language is the data collected?
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.

17. When will I receive the data I collected with the GESIS Panel?
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.

18. What data do I receive if I have collected data myself with the GESIS Panel?
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.