Report , News of 27 October 2014

General revision of the SOEP questionnaires

The SOEP questionnaires appear to have an almost insatiable thirst for knowledge. This can be seen, on the one hand, in the multidisciplinarity and topicality of the questionnaires, and, on the other hand, in the SOEP’s attempt to provide the same data over longer periods of time (longitudinally), which in turn makes it difficult to keep the questionnaires a reasonable length. When we started our survey more than 30 years ago, the respondents agreed to an annual interview with an individual response burden of no more than 60 minutes. To prevent panel mortality, it is important to minimize the time burden on SOEP respondents and to stick to our implicit contract with our respondents.

Over the past few weeks, the SOEP team has been examining the SOEP individual questionnaires in detail to identify areas where they could be shortened in the future. We looked at all the questions that have been asked over the last five years (2010–2014) in all of the different versions of the individual questionnaire. Our key criteria in selecting candidates for deletion: redundancy of the information surveyed, evidence of insufficient validity of the question, lack of current relevance, and to our knowledge low potential for further use. Based on these criteria, a list of around 25 possible deletions was compiled. Most of these come from the set of questions on “work and employment” which in the last five years contained almost 100 different questions for SOEP participants.

Before we actually implement these proposed cuts for the next rounds of SOEP-Core, however, we want feedback from our users. If you have major research-related objections, please . The proposed cuts can be viewed here | PDF, 1.12 MB .

We are also planning a similar procedure for the household and life course questionnaires. We will be informing you about this in a future SOEPnewsletter.