The student survey examines the living situation, social background and attitudes of students as well as their study situation and the challenges associated with it. It is the largest survey of its kind ever conducted in Germany.
Its aim is to obtain a realistic picture of the situation of students in Germany. This is the only way to identify where politics, society and higher education institutions need to intervene in order to improve the situation of students. This is particularly important in times when the framework conditions for studying have changed significantly - as we are currently experiencing in the wake of the Corona pandemic and the digitalisation of higher education.
What does this mean in concrete terms? Only if we ask how much money students need for their living expenses, we can adjust Federal Financial Aid (BAföG) accordingly or set up new support programmes. Only if we understand the challenges of students with children, with impairments or with a migration background, we can support them in a targeted manner. Only if we record student drop-out rates or delays in the course of their studies, we can provide assistance and counselling and support services accordingly.
Only if we ask about the general study conditions, about challenges and difficulties that students experience, we can improve the situation for all.
What is the student survey?
The student survey examines the study and living situation, the social and financial framework conditions and the attitudes of students on topics such as political orientation or freedom of opinion, but also on career goals and discrimination. It is the largest survey of its kind ever conducted in Germany.
The survey aims to obtain a realistic picture of the situation of students in Germany. In this way, it is possible to determine where politics, society and higher education institutions need to take action in order to improve the situation of students.
The student survey builds on and continues a series of studies: the "Social Survey", the "Student Survey" and the survey "best - Studying Impaired" as well as the international comparative study "EUROSTUDENT".
The Social Survey of DSW and DZHW is a long-term study on the economic and social situation of students in Germany. It has been conducted every three years since 1951.
The Student Survey is a long-term survey that provides detailed information on the study situation at German universities as well as student orientations and interests. It has been conducted every three years since 1982 by the Research Groupon Higher Education at the University of Constance.
The survey "best - Beeinträchtigt Studieren" (best - studying with impairments) investigates the situation of students with study-related impairments. It has been conducted since 2012 in cooperation with DSW and DZHW. The European survey series EUROSTUDENT deals with the situation of students in different European countries.
What is the data used for?
The survey data is analysed anonymously by researchers from the DZHW, the Research Group on Higher Education at the University of Constance and the scientific community. Of course, all applicable data protection regulations are strictly adhered to, so that no conclusions can be drawn about individual response behaviour. In addition to the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the ethical standards for quality assurance in online research that are jointly developed by the Working Group of Social Science Institutes (Arbeitsgemeinschaft Sozialwissenschaftlicher Institute - ASI) are also the basis for our activities.
For whom are the results of the survey important?
The reports from the student survey serve politicians, higher education institutions, student representatives, STWs, associations and science organisations as a basis for educational policy decisions, policy changes and the orientation of their work. The findings of this survey also serve the higher education institutions themselves, for example, to improve the study situation or the counselling services offered to students. For the scientific community, this study is of particular importance because, following the project, the anonymised data can be used by reserchers, but also by students and doctoral candidates, for secondary analyses.
How do you handle my data? / How do you guarantee data protection?
Your anonymity is guaranteed because
- the invitation to the survey and the performance of the survey are carried out separately. You will recieve an invitation to participate by your higher education institution, but the survey and analysis is carried out by the staff of the German Centre for Higher Education Research and Science Studies (DZHW) and the Research Group on Higher Education (AG Hochschulforschung). It is not possible to link your names with the survey data.
- higher education institutions will not know what you have answered individually
- evaluation of the data is carried out in strict compliance with data protection regulations and the results are published in such a way that no conclusions can be drawn about individuals.
The quality assurance standards for online research adopted in 2001 apply. These were developed specifically for market and social research by the Working Group of Sicial Science Institutes (Arbeitsgemeinschaft Sozialwissenschaftlicher Institute - ASI), the German Society for Online Research (D.G.O.F.), the Professional Association of German Market and Social Researchers (BVM) and the Working Group of German Market and Social Research Institutes (ADM). In addition to the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the ethical standars for quality assurance in online Research that were jointly developed by ASI are also the basis of our activity.
How can I participate?
You can participate if you receive an email from your university with the link to the online questionnaire. Answering the questionnaire takes an average of 34 minutes, but you can save your answers and complete the online questionnaire at a later time.
Why can only every third person participate?
There are almost 2.9 million students in Germany - surveying all of them would simply be too time-consuming and would not make sense from a social science perspective. But the he student survey is representative nevertheless. The results of the sample represent the study and living situations of all students almost realistically.
Who decides which students are allowed to participate?
The participating higher education institutions draw a random sample from their student register according to the specifications of the German Centre for Higher Education Research and Science Studies (DZHW). Thus, every third person studying in a bachelor's, master's or traditional degree programme is invited to participate.
What kind of questions do you ask in the survey?
The range is very wide. Questions concern your age or your field of study, your monthly income and what you spend it on, or your family background. In addition, there are questions about the study conditions, difficulties during your studies or your political and social attitudes. You can find the survey topics (in German) here.
How long does it take to complete the questionnaire?
On average 34 minutes. Since we try to do justice to the situation of all student groups, the duration of the survey varies depending on what you have done and experienced so far. Most of you will have finished in 30 minutes, but a few may need up to 40 minutes. You have the possibility to save your answers and continue the survey at a later time.
Who conducts the student survey?
We are working on the student survey in a project network consisting of the German Centre for Higher Education Research and Science Studies (DZHW), the Research Group on Higher Education of the University of Constance and the National Association for Student Affairs (DSW). The study is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).
The German Centre for Higher Education Research and Science Studies (DZHW) is a research institute based in Hanover and funded by the German federal and state governments. As an international centre of excellence for higher education and science research, the DZHW conducts data collection and analyses, produces research-based services for higher education and science policy, and makes its and external data sets available to the scientific community via a research data centre. In the field of student research, the DZHW has been conducting various surveys since 1976 and can draw on many years of expertise with regard to both methodological and content-related issues related to studying.
From 1982 to 2016, the University of Constance's Higher Education Research Group conducted the Student Survey, a regular nationwide survey funded by the BMBF at universities and universities of applied sciences on the topics of study situation and student orientations. On the one hand, the results provide a basis for higher education policy, the quality management of the participating universities and for public discussion, and on the other hand for scientific work in higher education research. Within the study "The Student Survey in Germany", the working group is responsible for surveying three topics: social and study-related fairness attitudes, political orientations of students, and transitions to Bachelor's and Master's and doctoral studies.
The National Association for Student Affairs (DSW) is the association of 57 student and student services organisations in Germany, which support students on behalf of the state, among other things with refectories, halls of residence, the implementation of the BAföG, with psychological counselling and social counselling, childcare as well as offers for foreign students or students with disabilities. The German Student Union first developed and conducted a social survey on the economic and social situation of students in 1951; thereafter, the social survey was established as a regular student survey. For more than 70 years, the social surveys of the German Student Union have drawn a realistic picture of the social and economic situation of students; it is considered one of the most important and largest educational studies in Germany.