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German Microdata Lab


The German Microdata Lab (GML) of GESIS offers services on microdata of official statistics and deals with methodological and content-related research based on these data. Our main goal is to improve the efficiency of the research process by minimising the costs for researchers in terms of obtaining information on the research potential of the data, acquiring the basic skills (both content and methodological) needed to work with the data, data management and data analysis.


  • Tools and setups: The GML offers tools (documented SPSS/Stata syntax) to help with data management or the conversion of data from official statistics into variables more suitable for scientific research, e.g. ESeG and ESeC. The GML provides setups for the Microcensus Scientific Use Files, which are used to read in the raw data material and create system files for the SPSS, SAS and Stata programme packages, as well as to link Microcensus cross-sectional surveys from 2012 to panel data sets. In addition, SPSS routines are provided for the creation of a harmonised and cumulated dataset of the microcensuses available for science from 1962 to 2016 (GESIS microcensus trend file).
  • Documentation: Empirical research depends on comprehensive, well-structured documentation of the data. We provide documentation (such as questionnaires, data descriptions, classifications and definitions) for the Microcensus Scientific Use Files through our microdata information system MISSY.
  • Knowledge transfer: Due to a growing demand for expertise on the use of official statistics data, we organise workshops (introductory and topic-oriented).
  • Networking: There are few opportunities for researchers working with microdata to meet and discuss results and problems. We organise MZ conferences (in cooperation with official statistics) that provide a forum to discuss research results and promote exchange between researchers and data producers. We also run an email list to inform researchers about new data, new services and events.
  • Access: The GML offers services for the Microcensus Scientific Use Files from 1973 onwards, but does not provide the data. Detailed information on data access, costs and how to apply for access can be found in our Microdata Information System MISSY. In addition, the GML offers researchers the possibility to analyse a few old microcensus data sets (1962-1969) and data from the official statistics of the GDR at GESIS in Mannheim.