Topic Search with paneldata.org

In order to obtain an overview of the content of the variables provided by the SOEP, the variables on paneldata.org were assigned to different topics. If you are looking for your research variables and do not want to check all data sets or questionnaires, the topic search on paneldata.org could help you. Open Paneldata.org and select the main study SOEP-Core. The upper navigation bar leads you to the Topics area. Click on Topics and have a look at the list of variables.

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Select a topic that corresponds to your research interest and a more specific selection of topics will appear.

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For example, if you are interested in different types of satisfaction, select the appropriate topic “attitudes, values, and personality”. With a little search you will discover the sub-topic “personality”. Suppose you are interested in health satisfaction. If you have found a suitable subtopic, click on the option “show all the related variables”. All variables of this topic will be displayed.

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The paneldata topic list has three possible functions for each sub-topic. You can display all variables that belong to a sub-topic. In the future, the question texts from the questionnaires of the various variables of a sub-topic can be displayed. In addition, you can store the variables of a sub-topic into a variables basket. Which possibilities arise for users and how you can use the basket for your research projects is explained in the chapter Syntax Generator on paneldata.org. Click on one of the variables to get to the variable overview.

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If you click on the concept of a variable, you will get to the concept overview. Concepts in SOEP are used to link variables with the same content. The concepts can even be used to link cross-study variables with the same content.

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The concept overview displays the study and wave specific variables of the concept. The concept allows you to determine whether the variable you are looking for is also available and comparable across studies. In the column “Study” you can see in which studies the same variable is linked via the concept. The label of the respective variable is also displayed in the “Label” column. The column “path” shows the wave name of the variable. By clicking on the label you will get to the known overview of variables with all relevant information. The “Object” column in the concept overview shows you the type of information which is displayed.

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In addition to the variables linked via the concept, you can find the relevant questions in the concept overview. Questions are displayed in the “Object” column with question. Without having to open the questionnaire, you can get an overview of the question and determine possible differences. Click on the desired question and you will be taken to the question display.

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Attention: The variable search via the questionnaires is unavoidable in order to find out the exact wording of the question and the possible filter structure. The question display of Paneldata.org only provides a quick overview. In the question overview you can navigate through the questionnaire using the “next question” and “previous question” buttons. The “Instrument” section shows the position of the question in the questionnaire, the survey year and links to the metadata-based survey instrument. Click on the survey instrument “Questionnaire 2011”.

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The survey instrument for the survey year 2011 of the SOEP-IS study is now displayed. You can navigate through the questionnaire in this overview. The search field allows you to search for research-relevant terms. Click on the question to access the question display.