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SOEP-IS Innovative Modules

Your Research Questions in SOEP-IS: The Innovative Modules

The SOEP team would like to highlight the potential of the SOEP Innovation Sample (SOEP-IS) for SOEP data users and encourage you to take advantage of this tool to have household-level microdata collected for your research questions. If your research requires information at the household level, for example, or specific information on people’s opinions, SOEP-IS gives you the opportunity to collect this information.

The SOEP Innovation Sample (SOEP-IS) is designed to enable innovative data collection for the research community. It is particularly well suited to establishing new and target-group-specific measurement instruments in long-term surveys, to conducting short- and long-term experiments, and to collecting non-survey data (such as biomarkers). Past SOEP-IS modules include (complex) economic behavioral experiments, implicit association tests (IAT), and complex procedures for measuring time use with (day reconstruction method, DRM).

Data from SOEP-IS modules are provided exclusively to the researchers who submitted the respective proposals for an initial 12-month period. After this embargo has ended, the data are released to the entire SOEP user community for secondary analysis.

An overview of the innovative modules implemented thus far can be found in our SOEP-IS Companion (

As a new technical feature, the 2014 SOEP-IS premiered the use of 111 smart phones for data collection using the experience sampling method (ESM). These smartphones can also be used for future surveys.

Submitting Proposals for New Modules

Proposals may be submitted by email to SOEP-IS survey management at:

  • All proposals must be written in English.
  • Proposals should not overlap with topics and questions covered by existing SOEP data (see
  • Proposals should use the template for SOEP-IS proposals: pdf (PDF, 79.61 KB) (79.61 KB), or docx (DOCX, 173.61 KB) (173.61 KB).
  • Proposals should include the names, addresses, affiliations, and short CVs with the main publications of all participating researchers.
  • Applicants will be expected to secure outside funding to cover the costs of any incentives for behavioral experiments or the collection of biomarkers (for example, saliva) if envisioned by the proposal.
  • If the proposal is accepted, the SOEP-IS team will draft versions of the questions that will then be finalized in collaboration with the researchers submitting the proposal.
  • Two modes of data collection are possible: computer-assisted personal interviews (CAPI) conducted by interviewers, and computer-assisted web interviews (CAWI), which respondents complete on their own. The proposal should state which mode of data collection is envisioned (CAPI, CAWI, or both). Other modes of data collection are possible but must be financed by the researcher.

A subcommittee of the SOEP Survey Committee will evaluate and rate the relevance and significance of the proposed questions. If the proposed project already has funding from the DFG or other third-party funding agencies, this step of external evaluation will be skipped. Since projects funded by the DFG and other organizations also need to be feasible from a survey methodology perspective, researchers who are interested in submitting a proposal should contact SOEP-IS Survey Management before applying to the DFG or other prominent funding agencies.

All proposals are evaluated for scientific quality, suitability, feasibility, and costs. The following aspects are taken into consideration: 

Scientific quality and relevance

  • Potential for scientific breakthroughs
  • Sound analytical framework and empirical design
  • Appropriateness of the proposed research methodology
  • An international dimension and/or (pre-)registration of the study are a plus, though not a requirement.

Suitability for the SOEP Innovation Sample

  • What is the added value of using a longitudinal survey with the households?
  • To what extent will the longitudinal character of SOEP-IS be utilized?
  • To what extent will the multidisciplinary character of SOEP-IS be utilized?
  • How does the proposal relate to the core variables of SOEP-IS (which are collected every year)?


  • Questions must be comprehensible to respondents from different educational backgrounds.
  • Questions must respect respondents’ privacy.
  • Interesting questions are preferred.
  • Questions with a low response burden (1 or 2 additional minutes) are preferred.

SOEP-IS is an infrastructure for the international research community. Survey questions from accepted proposals will be incorporated into SOEP-IS at no additional cost.

If it is necessary to incorporate additional subsamples into SOEP-IS, the researchers submitting the proposal will be expected to raise outside funding.

Similarly, if a proposal includes behavioral experiments or content that has not been evaluated (for example, biomarkers), the researchers submitting the proposal will be expected to raise outside funding.

If a funding application has been approved by an external peer-reviewed funding agency (for example, DFG or the NIH in the United States), the approval is considered proof of the study’s scientific merit, and the module will be included in SOEP-IS without further evaluation.

  1. All applicants must contact SOEP-IS Survey Management before submitting their proposal. Proposals submitted without prior consultation with SOEP-IS Survey Management will not be considered.
  2. SOEP-IS Survey Management will give its preliminary recommendations on general feasibility of the proposal without evaluating the scientific merit of the study and will decide once per year (in late summer) on submitted proposals. This step will include a review of scientific merit by external researchers. To be considered for evaluation and possible implementation in a given year, proposals must be submitted by June 30 of the year prior to survey implementation.
  3. SOEP-IS Survey Management will evaluate the need for additional pretests or pilot studies. After the final decision on methodological feasibility, two further lines of assessment are possible:
    If a proposal has received approval for funding from an external peer-reviewed funding agency (for example, DFG or the NIH in the United States), the approval will be considered proof of the study’s scientific merit, and the module will be included in SOEP-IS without further evaluation.
    If the proposal is not funded by a public funding agency but by a private foundation, SOEP-IS Survey Management will have their proposal evaluated and come to a decision on its scientific merit based on a double-blind peer review process. The proposal will be accepted if two members of the SOEP team provide a short letter of support.
  4. Following a positive evaluation, SOEP-IS Survey Management will suggest when a proposal can be implemented in SOEP-IS and will finalize necessary preparations for fieldwork.
  5. There is no limit on module submissions. However, resubmitted proposals that have been rejected in previous review rounds will be rejected without further consideration if applicants did not receive an explicit invitation to resubmit. The timing of proposal implementation is at the discretion of SOEP survey management and depends on what is considered appropriate in the context of other modules, overall content, and respondent burden.

Researchers interested in submitting a proposal should contact SOEP-IS Survey Management by May 31 and provide a brief description of their project. If a project is determined to be feasible from a survey methodology perspective, the official submission procedure will follow. The proposal must be submitted by June 30. Data will usually be collected between March and June of the following year. We look forward to hearing your ideas.

Applications, questions, and comments should be submitted in English to

Contact person

Carina Cornesse
Carina Cornesse

Head of SOEP Innovation Sample & Social Cohesion Panel in the German Socio-Economic Panel study Department