Data and Research on Society (DRS)

Monitoring current social developments is a primary objective of the social sciences. The department supports the social sciences in this task by providing comprehensive resources to describe and analyse social change. In addition, the department supports German universities and research institutions in achieving gender equality by providing comprehensive information on the topic, advising them on the topic and evaluating measures in this area. We conduct research in the area of survey methology as well as on contemporary social processes and topics.

Our Services


Are you looking for data from a specific survey? Here you can go directly to the data and background information of our most frequently requested survey programs.

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Official Microdata

Our service on official microdata is aimed at researchers who work or want to work with official data for their analyses. The service includes tools for data analysis, metadata and knowledge transfer.

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Gender Equality

CEWS is the national hub for the realization of gender equality in academia. We create the evidence-base for both higher education policy and gender equality policy. We also support social science research in the thematic field.

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Our Teams

The International Survey Team is part of the Department of Data and Research on Society (DRS) at GESIS and supports three international survey programs, namely the International Social Survey Programme (ISSP), the European Social Survey (ESS), and the Comparative Study of Electoral Systems (CSES). Across the three survey programs, our tasks involve different activities associated with questionnaire- and survey-design, survey implementation in the German context, and data management, maintenance, and documentation.  The team also hosts the secretariat of the CSES study (in conjunction with the Institute for Social Research, Michigan). The secretariat is responsible for the management, and coordination of the international programs, project promotion, event organisation, and liaising with collaborators.

Our team is also committed to international and comparative research in a range of areas:

  • Electoral behavior,
  • Attitudes and public opinion
  • Health inequality
  • Survey methodology in representative surveys

CEWS Center of Excellence Women and Science is the national hub for the realization of equal opportunities both for women and men in science and research. CEWS sparks new ideas, initiates processes of change and engages in knowledge transfer processes between science and politics. CEWS main areas of activity are:

  • Social science research on gender relations and gender equality policy in science at the (inter)national level
  • Knowledge transfer through policy advice, networking and scientific service
  • Monitoring and evaluation of gender equality in science and research 

The German Microdata Lab (GML) is a service facility for research on official microdata from Germany and Europe. The tasks of the GML are: a) to continuously improve access to and information on official microdata in Germany and Europe; b) to provide a service and research infrastructure for this data; c) to mediate between official statistics and empirical research; and d) to carry out exemplary research in the field of social structure analysis.

The Team Family Surveys (FamS) within DRS is responsible for conducting the Family Research and Demographic Analysis (FReDA) panel as well as the final wave of the pairfam panel. For FReDA, we closely collaborate with the Federal Institute for Population Research (BIB) and the Pairfam consortium. Our tasks include survey and questionnaire design, implementation of the surveys, fieldwork management, data collection, data documentation, and data preparation. Furthermore, we are responsible for tasks with regard to the Integrated Survey and Data Infrastructure (IEDI) and conduct the third-party funded "Survey Data Collectin and the Covid-19 Pandemic" (SDCCP) and "Prediction-based Adaptive Designs for Panel Surveys" (PrADePS) projects. 

Our research focus areas are:

  • Family dynamics and transitions (particularly partnership stability, division of labour and fertility intentions)
  • Survey error (particularly measurement, nonresponse, and coverage error)
  • Survey and questionnaire design
  • Participation and response behavior

The German Longitudinal Election Study (GLES) is part of the National Election Studies (NES) team. The GLES is the central infrastructure project in Germany and is responsible for the continuous collection and provision of high-quality data for research on national and international electoral behaviour. The GLES consists of several study parts which enable the investigation of political attitudes and behaviour of voters and candidates.

As part of our work, we conduct research on methodological and substantive issues. Central topics are:

  • Survey research methods
  • Data quality in the Total Survey Error Framework, especially non-response bias
  • Political sociology, including candidate effects and social media use in election campaigns