ESRA 2017 Programme

Tuesday 18th July      Wednesday 19th July      Thursday 20th July      Friday 21th July     

     ESRA Conference App

Tuesday 18th July, 16:00 - 17:30 Room: N 101

Overview of open access European survey data 4

Chair Dr Annette Scherpenzeel (SHARE – Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe )
Coordinator 1Ms Sabine Friedel (Munich Center for the Economics of Aging, Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy)

Session Details

In recent years, many large sets of survey data have been made available to the scientific community. Large national and European surveys, such as ESS, SHARE, SOEP, Understanding Society, etc., disseminate their data to registered users. For researchers it can be difficult to get a good overview of what is offered and to find the specific variables and samples of their interest.

This session aims to give researchers more insight into the variety of variables available in large survey datasets. For that purpose, we invite survey practitioners to present their data sets, longitudinal as well as cross-sectional, to potential users. Presentations should address the following survey characteristics: Research field, target population and sample, survey design, data access regulations, available survey variables and paradata, linked administrative data (if applicable), and some examples of data use. Moreover, we especially welcome overviews including information which can be used for methodological analysis, such as key stroke data, auxiliary information, interviewer characteristics and observations, response behavior, experimental designs, etc.

Paper Details

1. Presentation of Adult Education Survey (AES) - German Data Sets 2007-2016
Miss Alexandra Strauss (Kantar Public, TNS Deutschland GmbH)
Mrs Frauke Bilger (Kantar Public, TNS Deutschland GmbH)
Dr Friederike Behringer (Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (BIBB))

Lifelong learning is getting more and more important in a rapidly changing society with an economy based more and more on services and new technologies. Adult participation in lifelong learning is considered to be one of the main means to ensure adaptation of skills to the changing requirements. In order to monitor level and trends of participation in adult learning as well as input, process and outcomes of education and training of adults the Adult Education Survey (AES) was implemented. It collects information not only on participation in adult learning, but also on a wide choice of information on individuals (both participants and non-participants) and on events of education and training. On behalf of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), the survey is conducted every two to three years since 2007 in Germany. Every five years the German AES is part of the EU-Survey embedded in the European Statistical System.

Target group is the population aged 18 to 64 years in Germany. The sample size is approximately 7.000 persons, interviewed via computer assisted personal interviews (CAPI), the sampling method is random-walks according to ADM standard (ADM: Arbeitskreis Deutscher Marktforschungsinstitute).

The German AES survey is one of the most important studies concerning trend information on continuing education and training in Germany. Key indicators are published in the BMBF-trend report every two to three years, complemented by a comprehensive report delivering description and analyses. The German AES collects a broad variety of information: socio-demographic background, household information, work related information, educational background, education of parents, information on formal education activities as well as on non-formal education activities, and informal learning activities. Additionally, the AES tackles varying issues of policy interest by including additional topics in the survey.

Data sets of all German AES surveys are provided on the GESIS online platform (e.g. 2014:, 2012:, 2010: Probably, the AES 2016 data sets will be available in 2018. In order to facilitate use of the data, detailed method information and a code book are provided. The rich datasets allow for a broad range of analyses, focussing on individuals or learning activities.

Alexandra Strauß and Frauke Bilger (Kantar Public Germany), Dr. Friederike Behringer (Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (BIBB))

2. Transitions from Education to Employment (TREE): a Swiss multi-cohort panel survey
Ms Christina von Rotz (University of Bern)
Mr Maarten Koomen (University of Bern)

TREE (Transitions from Education to Employment) is a multi-cohort Swiss panel survey surveying two large representative cohorts (>6,000 respondents) of compulsory school leavers throughout their transitions from education to employment and adulthood. The TREE survey has an interdisciplinary approach and covers a wide range of topics (TREE 2016). With TREE's recent extension to a multi-cohort design, Switzerland will be among the few countries worldwide, in which comparative inter-cohort analyses can be carried out.
The first cohort (TREE1) started in 2000 on the basis of the Swiss PISA survey and sample. So far, it has surveyed individuals from age 15 to age 30. A further survey wave is planned for 2019 (at average age of 35), thus gradually extending the study's scope towards life course research. Apart from Canada and Denmark, Switzerland has been the only country to conduct a follow-up panel of the PISA 2000 respondents.
The second cohort (TREE2) has been launched in 2016. It is based on a standardized nation-wide mathematics testing scheme carried out among over 20,000 ninth graders, providing representative samples for each of the 26 Swiss cantons. The survey design of TREE2 essentially follows that of TREE1 for reasons of comparability.
The first four waves of TREE1 (2001-2004) had written questionnaires as the main mode of data collection. For panel waves carried out between 2005 and 2014, the main mode of data collection shifted to computer-assisted telephone interviewing (CATI), allowing for a more accurate collection of episodic data on education and employment spells. The CATI interviewing is supplemented with a written questionnaire tailored to the respondent’s specific situation (in education or training, employment, etc.). Sample retention is excellent even by international standards: For wave 9 in 2014, gross sample size was still at almost 70% and net response rate at 50% of the initial valid sample in 2001. For the second cohort, TREE adopts the same mixed-mode survey design, adding (online) computer assisted self-inter¬viewing (CASI) as a further mode of data collection.
TREE provides data on post-compulsory school-to-work and other life course transitions. Detailed episodic data on education and labour market transitions can be linked with information on academic skills and achievement at the end of compulsory school (PISA). Abundant context data include socio-demographic background (e.g. gender, social and migration background, family situation), psychosocial strains and resources, well-being, health, social relations and networks, personal traits, values, aspirations and plans, financial situation etc.
To date, the TREE1 data have been used by almost 250 researchers from disciplines including sociology, economy, educational sciences, psychology and public health, working both in Switzerland and abroad. Their analyses have so far given rise to over 200 publications, making the TREE data one of the most widely used data sets in Switzerland (see for more information).

TREE (2016). Documentation on the first TREE cohort (TREE1), 2000–2016. Bern: TREE.

3. The National Educational Panel Study (NEPS): Design, Research Potential, and Data Supply
Dr Daniel Fuss (Leibniz Institute for Educational Trajectories (LIfBi, Bamberg, Germany))

In modern societies education has become a key factor not only for economic growth and prosperity but also as a vital resource for coping with the demands of a rapidly changing, globalized world. The German National Educational Panel Study (NEPS) has been set up to find out more about how education is acquired, to understand how it impacts on individual biographies, and to describe and analyze the major educational processes and trajectories across the life span. Guiding principle of the study is to ask how competencies unfold over the life course, how they influence educational careers at various critical transitions, and how and to what extent competencies are influenced in turn by learning opportunities―not only those within the family and the peer group but also those resulting from the way teaching and learning processes are shaped in kindergarten, school, higher education, vocational training, and adult education.

The NEPS study follows a multicohort sequence design consisting of six target groups—early childhood, kindergarten children, fifth graders, ninth graders, first-year students in higher education, and adults—with over 60,000 persons that were sampled through the years 2009 to 2012. The sampling rationale refers to major transitions within the education system, as well as between the education system and the labor market. All panel participants are regularly interviewed and tested over an extended period of time. Additionally, about 40,000 context persons such as parents, teacher or preschool staff are surveyed.

The complex NEPS survey program concentrates on five interlinked dimensions: (1) competence development across the life course, (2) education processes in life-course-specific learning environments, (3) social inequality and educational decisions, (4) education acquisition of persons with migration background, (5) returns to education. It is complemented by extensive biographical details, motivational variables and personality aspects, structural information about the educational contexts, and numerous paradata for methodological research.

The data of the National Educational Panel Study are collected by conventional as well as innovative methods, such as computer-based assessment (CBA). Data edition for the professional public is managed by the Research Data Center at the Leibniz Institute for Educational Trajectories (Leibniz-Institut für Bildungsverläufe, LIfBi) in Bamberg, Germany. The preparation of high-quality data includes the coding of open entries, the generation of additional variables and data sets, as well as the integration of information from other data sources (e.g., regional information, administrative records). All data sets are prepared in Stata and SPSS format with metadata in German and English. Together with a comprehensive documentation these Scientific Use Files are available free of charge to researchers through flexible ways of data access (download, remote, on-site). By the end of 2016, more than 1,200 persons involved in about 900 research projects have been registered as NEPS data users.

The paper presentation will give an overview of the design and survey program of the NEPS study, its research potential, and data access regulations.