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Survey Design and Methodology (SDM)

The department Survey Design & Methodology (SDM) is both nationally and internationally recognized for its expertise in survey methodology, gained over many years by conducting own research as well as consulting on and implementing renowned survey projects. The goal of our research is to broaden the understanding of the survey process. Our expertise finds its way into our methodological consultation services and into the operational services that we offer, such as sampling, pretesting, field monitoring or survey data collection within the GESIS Panel.

We would particularly like to highlight the following offers from our department

Consulting & GESIS Survey Guidelines

Learn more about our Teams

The Cross-Cultural Survey Methods (CSM) team focuses on the methodology of cross-cultural and cross-national studies. Its research and services aim at testing and ensuring intercultural equivalence and, thus, comparability of data. The team provides consultancy notably on questionnaire design and translation/adaptation of measurement instruments. For this, external researchers can either directly contact GESIS consultants or they can access the GESIS Survey Guidelines. We are also part of the international steering committee, the Core Scientific Team (CST), of the European Social Survey (ESS ERIC). Jointly with our partners we assure the quality of the collected data; our responsibilities focus on questionnaire translation, planning and monitoring of field activities, as well as interviewer behaviour.

The Questionnaire Design & Evaluation team supports users in the development and evaluation of questionnaires. Cognitive pretests (face-to-face, web probing, and eye-tracking) are conducted to test the quality of survey questions. The results of those pretests are published in our pretesting data base. In research and consultation services, the team addresses topics such as question wording and response formats, the harmonization of variables between surveys, and especially the measurement of socio-structural variables.

The GESIS Panel offers social scientists the opportunity to collect survey data within a probability-based mixed-mode access panel free of charge, with the exception of funded research projects. Academics of a diverse set of disciplines can submit their proposals. The resulting data is made available to the scientific community for secondary use.

The Scale Development & Documentation team develops and documents survey instruments in the social sciences and underpins these services with their own research in this area. The collection of items and scales for the social sciences (CIS) is the key service of this team. More than 200 survey instruments have been published so far.

The Survey Operations team focuses on the optimization of all field-related decisions, tasks, and processes and in that considers specifically longitudinal surveys. The team’s services to the community focus in particular on survey project planning and field monitoring.  Moreover, the team is participating in several PIAAC follow-up projects, thereby collecting, analyzing, and documenting basic competencies among the adult population. The resulting data is made available to the scientific community via the FDZ PIAAC (PIAAC research data center).

The Survey Statistics team offers extensive advice regarding sample design and the analysis of survey data. Our services also include the drawing of samples, especially telephone samples using both landline and mobile phones, as well as the development and calculation of survey weights.