The Individual in Context(s): Research Potentials of the Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP) in Sociology

Aufsätze referiert extern - Web of Science

Marco Giesselmann, Sandra Bohmann, Jan Goebel, Peter Krause, Elisabeth Liebau, David Richter, Diana Schacht, Carsten Schröder, Jürgen Schupp, Stefan Liebig

In: European Sociological Review 35 (2019), 5, S. 738-755

Abstract

The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) study is a rich resource for sociologists, mainly because it offers direct measures of respondents’ contexts. The SOEP data provide (i) information retrieved from individuals themselves, (ii) direct information retrieved from their parents, partners, and organizations, (iii) prospectively collected information on past characteristics, and (iv) regional and spatial identifiers allowing researchers to link the data with regional-level characteristics. As the study has been in the field since 1984, the data also reflect variation in institutional and structural settings over time. Regular refreshment samples provide options to identify cohort effects. Together, these features allow multi-layered contextual designs that offer substantive insights into the effects of formal and informal institutions on individual behaviour and living conditions. This article introduces the main types of SOEP-based sociological research designs and discusses their survey methodological origins. It also points to underexplored potentials as well as limitations of the SOEP. Finally, it offers basic suggestions for approaching the data in each of the research designs presented.

Stefan Liebig

Board of Directors in the German Socio-Economic Panel study Department

Sandra Bohmann

Research Associate in the German Socio-Economic Panel study Department

Carsten Schröder

Vize-Direktor SOEP und Bereichsleitung Angewandte Panelanalysen in the German Socio-Economic Panel study Department

David Richter

Survey Manager SOEP-IS in the German Socio-Economic Panel study Department

Elisabeth Liebau

Research Associate in the German Socio-Economic Panel study Department

Peter Krause

Research Associate in the German Socio-Economic Panel study Department

Jürgen Schupp

Wissenschaftler in the German Socio-Economic Panel study Department