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Methodology

The Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP)

The Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) is one of the largest and longest-running multidisciplinary panel studies in the world. Currently, about 30,000 people in 20,000 households are surveyed annually. Since the same households participate in the study every year, it is possible to follow respondents across the entire life course. The SOEP is a household sample and at the same time a longitudinal and thus multi-cohort sample.
The SOEP is based on random samples representing the population of all private households in Germany. This makes it an excellent tool for drawing general conclusions about the realities of people’s lives in Germany—and thus also about the effects of the corona crisis.

Sample(s) & compensation for missing survey data

For first SOEP-CoV survey, the participating SOEP households were divided into nine subsamples or tranches. The subsamples were structured in such a way that household composition within each one was representative of the population of private households in Germany. Subsamples 1 to 5 were surveyed every two weeks and subsamples 5 to 9 were surveyed weekly to measure how the crisis was affecting private households over time. A total of 12,000 households were asked to participate in the SOEP-CoV study. The (rounded) number of households in each of the nine samples was: 3000, 3000, 2,000, 1000, 600, 600, 600, 600, 600. This meant that more households were interviewed at the beginning of the survey, when Germany had stricter social distancing restrictions in place, than at the end, when restrictions had been loosened. This design reflects the assumption that the effects of the crisis are likely to have been more severe at the beginning and to have decreased over time.

This first wave of the survey started on April 1, 2020, and ended on June 28, 2020. Individuals from a total of 6,694 households were surveyed. Weighting was used to compensate for distortions in the resulting statistics resulting from selective dropout (due, for instance, to households having less time available to participate during the pandemic). For more information on the weighting approach used with the SOEP-CoV data, see here (PDF in German and in English).

The individuals / households that participated in the first wave of the survey were surveyed again in a second wave from January 18 to February 15, 2021. Individuals from a total of 6,038 households were surveyed in the second wave.

Questionnaires

Both the first and second survey were conducted using computer-assisted telephone interviewing (CATI). The fieldwork was conducted by Kantar Public. Repeated attempts were made to reach respondents who could not be reached initially by calling repeatedly at different times of day.

The English questionnaires as PDF files (please refer to the Germans site for the German versions)

Wave one 1 (April-Jun 2020)


Wave 2 (January/February 2021)


For more information about the study and methodology:

Kühne, S., Kroh, M., Liebig, S. & S. Zinn, (2020): The Need for Household Panel Surveys in Times of Crisis: The Case of SOEP-CoV. In: Survey Research Methods 14(2): 195-203.