UNIVERSITY OF COLOGNE, GERMANY
The Zentralarchiv was funded in 1960 by the University of Cologne, Germany. It is financed jointly by the University and the Federal Minister for Research and Technology.
The Zentralarchiv collects data from all fields of empirical research. Emphasis is on survey data. Regional data and textural data for computer-aided content analysis are included as well. Special collections for national election studies have existed since 1953. Also available are consumer studies, leisure and tourism studies, communication and media research, and the German General Social Surveys, as well as national and international teaching setups.
The archive holdings are generally available to those interested in survey research; access to the data is governed by Zentralarchiv's user regulations.
Additional information about Zentralarchiv is located in the following documents:
University of Kö ln
Bachemer Straß e 40
D-5000 Kö ln 41
The main task of the Zentralarchiv is to offer already existing data, especially survey data that can be used for further analysis (secondary analysis). The work for the Zentralarchiv refers to all subjects of social research (e.g. sociology, political research, psychology, mass communication, social policy, economics, technology). The oldest archived study was carried out in 1945. Information about data is available from the list of archive holdings (Datenbestandsverzeichnis) and the more detailed catalogue of archived surveys (Datenbestandskatalog), which provides an overview of the holdings.
The Zentralarchiv Holdings include:
- Population surveys covering a broad range of topics, especially in sociology, including:
- --consumer behavior
- --travel behavior
- --media use
- Surveys of specific social groups (such as occupational groupings, young people, students, etc.)
- Panel studies, e.g. pre- and post-election surveys
- Trend Surveys, e.g. Politbarometer, Welfare Surveys
- Cross-cultural studies, e.g. political action (Eight Nation Study), International Social Survey Programme (ISSP)
- Datasets from historical social research.
The Zentralarchiv library "Empirical Social Research" contains an extensive collection of books, monographs, encyclopedias, collections of tables, reports and unpublished papers on methodology, discussing methodology and presenting the results of empirical studies. The reports include the comparative set of HICOG/OMGUS surveys, EUROBAROMETER, POLITBAROMETERS, and other reports from opinion research. All bibliographic references are available via an in-house retrieval system. More than one hundred periodicals are held.
Providing Archive Materials
The following material is available for users:
- Data on tape
- Codebooks of archived surveys with texts of questions and marginal distributions of answers
- Survey documents from the archive holdings and the library, e.g. copies of questionnaires
- Published survey results (such as tables from research reports).
Acquisition and Processing of Survey Data
The Zentralarchiv seeks to
- continue the acquisition and archiving of new surveys, on demand as well as at user's request
- supplement existing panels by new surveys, (e.g. ALLBUS, ISSP, EUROBAROMETER, Election Studies, Media Use)
- process multistage technical survey data to facilitate further analyses.
More information about acquisition and processing of data is available in the following documents:
Information about customer services is located in the document Benutzerberatung (document in German).
Information about the retrieval system is located in the document Thematishe Schwerpunkte fü r Retrievalpools (document in German).
Other sources of information
The Zentralarchiv's annually published monograph Empirical Social Research presents information on the contents, methods, objectives, and progress of empirical research projects in German-speaking countries (more than 4,000 projects in 1990). Inventories for the period 1962-1990 have been published.
Additional information about the Empirical Social Research publication is found in the document Dienstleistungen fü r die empirische Sozialforschung (document in German).
In 1987, the services of the Zentralarchiv were extended to the field of historical social research with the foundation of the ZHSF (document in German) by
GESIS (document in German).
The ZHSF is engaged in numerous research and service activities for historical social research and is a scientifically autonomous department within the Zentralarchiv. Each year, early in September, the ZHSF offers two weeks of seminars on quantitative methods in historical social research at the basic and advanced level.
A number of means are possible for acquiring data:
- Select surveys from the list of holdings, the data catalogue or the retrieval system
- Select relevant survey materials at the Zentralarchiv with the aid of the Zentralarchiv staff
- Request a copy of the questionnaire and, if desired, copies of all other documents
- Request the data on tape (with format specification)
Information on how to obtain data and documents, and cost, is located in the document Benuzungs - und Gebü hrenordnung (document in German).
Zentralarchiv produces the following publications:
- Documentation Empirical Social Research (Campus, Frankfurt)
- Zentralarchiv-data catalogue Daten der Empirischen Sozialforschung 1945-1990 (Campus, Frankfurt, New York)
- Contributions to Empirical Social Research, a series published by Campus Verlag, Frankfurt, containing research activities in the archive.
ZHSF publishes the international scientific periodical "Historical Social Research/Historische Sozialforschung" and edits the publication "Historisch-sozialwissenschaftliche Forschungen."
The above publications can be purchased from the Zentralarchiv or from book shops.
The following leaflets are offered on request at no cost:
- List of archive holdings
- Description of selected surveys
- Brochure describing the Institute
- ZA-Information (Newsletter)
More information is contained in the document Verö ffentlichungen and Informationsmaterial des Zentralarchivs (document in German).
Datasets from other organizations containing environmental, earth science, and global change information can be located through CIESIN's Gateway.
Zentralarchiv assists in obtaining data from foreign archives. Lists of the holdings of these archives are available at the Zentralarchiv, in particular from members of the following organizations:
- International Federation of Data Organizations for the Social Sciences (IFDO)
- Council of European Social Science Data Archives (CESSDA)
More information about Zentralarchiv international cooperation is located in the document
(document in German)
Information about other Information Cooperative partner organizations may be located through CIESIN's Organizational Guides.
A listing of Zentralarchiv Contacts is available.
Survey Data and Documents
Services for Social Research (English version)
Daten und Dienstleistungen Fü r die Socialforschung (German version)
Zentralarchiv fü r empirische Sozialforschung an der Universitä t zu Kö ln