SOEP Innovation Sample


  • Title: soep-is
  • SOEP Innovation-Sample
  • Authors: SOEP-IS Group
  • Publications using these data should cite the DOI and include the following reference:
    Richter, David, and Jürgen Schupp. 2015. The SOEP Innovation Sample (SOEP IS). Schmollers Jahrbuch 135 (3), 389-399 (doi: 10.3790/schm.135.3.389)

Study info

The research infrastructure SOEP at DIW Berlin established a longitudinal Innovation Sample (SOEP-IS) in 2011 for particularly innovative research projects. The SOEP-IS is primarily available for methodical and thematic research that involves too high a risk of non-response for the long-term SOEP study.

SOEP-IS * is based on an evaluation conducted by the German Council of Science and Humanities. * is a longitudinal sample for particularly innovative survey methods and behavioral experiments.

A two-step module of Governance is established to regulate topics and question modules: first, the SOEP survey management runs a basic methodological test to establish whether the size, format, and survey mode outlined in a proposal seem appropriate for implementation in the SOEP-IS. The SOEP Survey Committee then checks the content of proposals received and prioritizes these for selection purposes. Information about SOEP-IS in general and about the application process is published in: SOEP Innovation Sample (SOEP-IS) - Description, Structure and Documentation by David Richter and Jürgen Schupp (SOEPpaper 463).


All samples of SOEP are multi-stage random samples that are regionally clustered. The respondents (households) are selected by random-walk. The SOEP-IS is conducted using CAPI exclusively. In principle, an interviewer tries to obtain face-to-face interviews with all members of a given survey household aged 16 and over. Additionally, one person (head of household) is asked to complete a household questionnaire covering information on housing, housing costs, and different sources of income. This also includes some questions about children up to 16 years of age in the household (e.g., kindergarten attendance, elementary school attendance, etc.)

Data access

To ensure the confidentiality of respondents’ information, the SOEP adheres to strict security standards in the provision of SOEP-IS data. The data are reserved exclusively for research use, that is, they are provided only to the scientific community. For individuals and institutions that already have a valid SOEP data distribution contract, an informal application can be submitted to the SOEP in the form of a letter or e-mail requesting a supplemental contract allowing expanded use of the SOEP data. After users have signed or updated their data distribution contract with DIW Berlin, they will receive the SOEP-IS dataset by personalized encrypted download. At the SOEP Data Research Center, users can also access small-scale regional data that can be linked to the SOEP-IS data. Additional information and all the required forms can be found on the SOEP webpage.

The datasets are available for Stata and SPSS in versions with German and English labels.

Samples and fieldwork

In 2018, more than 4,800 adult respondents in more than 3,200 households participated in the SOEP-Innovation Sample. Many of these women and men have been answering core SOEP questions since 1998 as part of an extension sample to the SOEP, while others entered in 2009. These individuals provide a wealth of longitudinal data to the SOEP Innovation Sample. Within the framework of the SOEP-Innovation Sample, additional samples were recruited in 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2016.

Data Collection

The annual fieldwork runs from September to December of each year. The first wave of the first subsample of the SOEP-IS started in September 2011, with a newly developed core questionnaire “SOEP Innovations” and new methods to measure gender stereotypes. The overall volume and costs of the surveys conducted in the SOEP-IS are lower than if “fresh” samples were used: central household and individual characteristics, invariant over time, are already available and do not have to be collected again.

  • Name: soep-is
  • Label: SOEP-IS
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German Socio-economic Panel (SOEP)