Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Microsociology

Academic Research and Writing

Notes on academic research and writing (only in German)

can be found in Wie verfasse ich eine wissenschaftliche Arbeit? It summarizes the institute's requirements and guidelines for academic writing. Online.


Notes on literature and data research

You can find a multiplicity of research sites on the internet, which can sometimes get quite confusing. Below we have assembled a list with some important addresses and links.

1. Literature research

You can research and access books and other media through the online catalogue of HU or the catalogues of other universities in Berlin and Brandenburg. Furthermore, there is a multiplicity of online databases that can help a lot with literature research.

Please note that in most cases, you can only access online text versions if you are using a HU IP-Address or if you are logged into the VPN-network!

Library catalogues

You can use online data bases to research literature. Some also offer digitalized magazine articles and/or books.


2. Data sets

Below we offer an overview of some data sets that are relevant for demographic and microsociological questions.

  • SOEP & FiD: The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) is a representative panel survey. For the last 30 years, circa 30.000 people in almost 11.000 households have been questioned by TNS Infratest Sozialforschung. The collected data includes information on income, employment, education, health, etc. Since 2010 the supplementary survey FiD (Familien in Deutschland/Families in Germany) collects data on special populations, e.g. families with low income, single parents or large families (3+ children).
  • Pairfam: The Pairfam study (Panel Analysis of Intimate Relationships and Family Dynamics) is a panel study with retrospective elements. The investigated topics are partnerships and family relations in Germany. It includes data on 12.000 persons, their partners, parents and children. The first of six waves was conducted in 2008/2009.

  • NEPS: The NEPS (Nationales Bildungspanel/National Educational Panel Study) researches educational processes and competence development from early childhood to high age. The NEPS follows six starting cohorts: Newborns, kindergardeners, fifth graders, ninth graders, university students and adults.

  • AID:A: AID:A (Aufwachsen in Deutschland: Alltagswelten) documents childhood, youth, families and how they are changing. In the first wave (2009), individuals between the ages of 0 and 55 (or their parents) were questioned.For the second wave (2013/14), the sample was limited to people between 0 and 32 years of age.
  • TwinLife: TwinLife is a panel study that follows more than 4.000 pairs of twins and their parents in Germany since 2014. TwinLife focuses on education and academic performance, career and labor market attainment, participation in social, cultural and political life, quality of life, physical and psychological health and behavioral issues and deviant behavior.
  • SHARE & SHARELIFE: SHARE (Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe) is a multidisciplinary panel study conducted in 20 european countries and Israel. Since 2004, it collects data on health, socioeconmic status, family and social networks of individuals aged 50 or older. SHARELIFE is the third wave of data collection for SHARE, which focuses on people's life histories. Almost 30,000 people aged 50 or older across 13 European countries took part in this round of the survey. The questionnaire contains important areas of the respondents’ lives, ranging from partners and children over housing and work history to detailed questions on health and health care.
  • DEAS: The DEAS (Deutscher Alterssurvey/German Ageing Survey) is a nationwide representative cross-sectional and longitudinal survey of the German population aged 40 and older. The first wave took place in 1996, further waves followed in 2002, 2008, 2011 and 2014. The respondents were asked about their employment status or their living conditions after retirement, their economic and housing situation, social participation and leisure activities, family ties and other social contacts, as well as health, well-being and life-goals.
  • HRS: The Health and Retirement Study (HRS) is a longitudinal panel study that surveys a representative sample of approximately 20,000 people in America over the age of 50 every two years. The first wave was conducted in 1992. Data is collected on issues such as income, work, pension plans, health insurance, physical health and functioning, cognitive functioning, and health care expenditures.
  • GGS: The Generations and Gender Survey (GGS) is a Longitudinal Survey of 18-79 year olds in 19 countries about the relationships between parents and children (generations) and between partners (gender). Respondents were asked about topics such as fertility, the transition to adulthood, partnership, economic activity, care duties and attitudes. The accompanying contextual database holds data on legal norms and regulations, social norms, measures of welfare state policies and institutions as well as general economic and cultural indicators.

  • GLHS: The German Life History Study (GLHS) comprises data on the life histories of about 8,500 men and women from 20 selected birth cohorts in West Germany and of more than 2,900 individuals from 13 selected birth cohorts in East Germany. Particular emphasis was placed on gaining a thorough, month-by-month account of their educational, occupational, family, and residential histories and on assessing the situation in the family of origin as accurately as possible. Some interviews focused on particular topics, e.g., membership in National Socialist organizations, social networks and informal exchange relations, or psychological personality traits.

  • JobMob and FamLives: The survey "Job Mobilities and Family Lives in Europe – Modern Mobile Living and its Relation to Quality of Life" (JobMob) is an international comparative research project which focuses on the spread, the causes and the consequences of job-related spatial mobility in Europe. The first wave was conducted in 2007 in six countries: Belgium, France, Germany, Poland, Spain and Switzerland. 7,220 randomly selected people were interviewed. A second survey took place in 2010/2011 in Germany, France, Spain, and Switzerland. Aside from re-interviewing the first wave-participants, an additional survey of 501 highly mobile persons was carried out in Germany and France.

  • Statistisches Bundesamt DESTATIS
  • IAB (Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung/Institute for research on job markets and occupation)
  • OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development)
  • eurostat (Data service of the European Commission)