Workshop "Sur­­vey Cli­­ma­­te and Trust in Sci­en­­ti­­fic Sur­­veys – Re­­cent De­­ve­­lop­­ments and Con­­tro­­ver­­­si­al Is­­su­es"

Workshop at the University of Kassel – Department of Social Sciences; October 4 and 5, 2022

In our complex and interconnected world, there is a strong need for databased scientific approaches to solving diverse local as well as global problems. However, to transform scientific recommendations successfully into policy measures, societal trust in scientific methods and results is required. Yet, mistrust toward scientific results seems to be on the rise in recent years. A prominent example is the disbelief in the severity of and acceptance of scientific measures against the coronavirus in some societal groups around the globe. In a democracy, surveys can be an important tool for measuring public opinion and informing political decision-makers about the views of their constituents. Yet, decreasing survey participation, attempts to manipulate polls, and misleading accusations of “fake polls” as well as polls carried out not in accordance with established scientific standards, put the validity of the gathered data in jeopardy. If the survey climate continues to be on the decline, this will have drastic consequences for survey-based research since both policymakers as well as the recipients of political interventions have to believe in the accuracy of the data. Therefore, as long as surveys remain the most used scientific method of getting a broad picture of public opinion within a democratic society, researchers may need to worry at least as much about whether results of surveys will be recognized and used for evidence-based policymaking as about the accuracy of survey data.

Against this background, this two-day workshop aims to bring together current conceptual and empirical research on the following topics:

Survey Climate: What is the current state of the survey climate? What caused changes? What can be done to foster a positive survey climate, both in terms of increasing survey participation and increasing the quality of survey data?

Trust in Surveys: What can be done to increase trust in surveys and their results? Which are determinants of participation and giving truthful answers that can be used to strengthen the quality of survey data? How is declining trust in surveys related to the declining trust in science?

Surveys and Society: If and how is political participation linked to trust in science and the generalized attitudes towards surveys? What is the role of surveys in the democratic process? Can process-based data (e.g., digital trace data) help to mitigate the survey climate problem?

Open Session: All related issues in the broader context of this workshop’s theme are welcome, too.


Prof. em. Dr. Edith de Leeuw (Utrecht University)

Prof. Dr. Michael Traugott (University of Michigan)



We encourage the submission of advanced research ideas as well as work in progress, especially from (Ph.D.) students and young scholars. The workshop is held in English, it is free of charge and open to participants with accepted paper presentation, only. The organizing team is able to feature three Student Travel Awards of 300 Euros.


The application should include

a) an abstract of the paper that will be presented (up to 500 words);

b) if applicable, a confirmation of a student status to be eligible for the student travel award for students currently enrolled in a study program (including PhD students).


All submitted abstracts will be under a peer review for their novelty, technical quality and impact.


We plan to publish a special issue in a peer-reviewed journal on the workshop topic in 2023. Details about the special issue will be provided during the workshop.


Letters of acceptance will be sent to participants in July 2022.

To enhance the discussion, a handout of approximately 3-4 pages and/or the slides of the presentation should be prepared by September 30, 2022. This material will be distributed to all participants in advance.

Click here for an overview of all presentations



12:45 Introduction


13:00 -14:00 Keynote Edith de Leeuw: "International Trends in Nonresponse: What can we do?" (Chair: Bella Struminskaya)


15min break


14:15 - 15:45 Session 1 (Chair: Thorsten Euler)

König, Corinna

Nonresponse Trends in the IAB Establishment Panel from 2001 to 2017

Haensch, CaroWhat do panelists say about their own participation motivation? Semi-automatic classification of an open-ended question on survey motivation
Herold, ImkeTrust in surveys, income non-response and linkage consent – the SHARE perspective


15min break


16:00 - 17:30 Session 2 (Chair: Bettina Langfeldt)

Silber, Henning

What motivates respondents to participate in surveys? Comparing respondents with different professionalization levels

Fiedler, Isabelle

Validating the Survey Attitude Scale (SAS): Are Measurements Comparable Among Different Samples of Highly Qualified from German Higher Education?

Dillman, DonHow the Changing Nature of Surveys May be Affecting Survey Climate and Trust


Dinner (18:30, Il Convento,  An der Garnisonkirche 2, 34117 Kassel)



09:30 - 11:00 Session 3 (Chair: Ulrike Schwabe)

Johnson, TimothyPerceptions of Pollsters in the United States: Experimental Evidence from Two General Population Studies
Stadtmüller, SvenThe interplay of motivated reasoning and survey quality information on the credibility of survey result
Yu Ruoh-rongFrequency of attending surveys and attitudes toward surveys and data: Findings from a probability-based online survey in Taiwan.


15min break


11:15 - 12:15 Keynote Michael Traugott: "How to Understand Public Perceptions of Polls and Their Use in Policy Making" (Chair: Henning Silber)


12:15 - 13:15 Lunch Break


13:15 - 15:15 Session 4 (Chair: Ulrike Schwabe)

Jungermann, NiklasThe Role of General Survey Attitudes and Panel-Specific Attitudes in Predicting Unit Nonresponse in Online Panels
Kleinewiese, JuliaSocial desirability bias and lack of trust in scientific surveys on deviant behavior
Griessl, Lukas

“The fascinating thing is that they find lunatics who believe that”: A Thematic Analysis of the Controversy around Probability vs Non-Probability Sampling

Szeitl, Blanka

The Pre­va­lence and Po­ten­ti­al Bi­as of On­line Sur­veys


15min break


15:30 - 16:00 Final Discussion

The workshop takes places in the Campus Center (Moritzstraße 18, 34126), auditorium 4 / seminar room 6 on the first floor.

The easiest way to reach the Campus Center is to use tram 1 ("Holländische Straße") until you reach "Holländischer Platz".

Once you reach the campus, follow the "Diagonale" and turn left at the end. Turn left again to see the Campus Center right in front of you.

Click here to download a map of the campus

We reserved an allotment of rooms for the workshop (from 10/03/2022 to 10/05/2022):

IntercityHotel Kassel (close to the train station, connected to the university via public transport; direct connection: line 1 "Holländische Straße" until you reach "Holländischer Platz")

Wilhelmshöher Allee 241, 34121 Kassel

Standard: 75€ / night including breakfast

Business; 105 € / night including breakfast

Rooms have to be booked before August 22. You can reserve a room via E-mail (reservations.kassel[at]intercityhotel[dot]com) or phone (+49 561 9388 666). Use the keyword "Survey Climate" while booking.


Stadthotel Kassel (~15min to the university by foot or public transport)

Wolfsschlucht 21, 34117 Kassel

72€ / night including breakfast

Rooms have to be booked before August 22. You can reserve a room via E-mail (email[at]stadthotelkassel[dot]de) or phone (+49 561 78888 0). Use the keyword "WORKSHOP" while booking.


Alternative locations (we did not reserve rooms so rooms might not be available and fees may vary)

Novostar Kassel.

Holländische Str. 27, 34127 Kassel


Renthof Kassel.

Renthof 3, 34117 Kassel


Deutscher Hof.

Lutherstraße 3-5, 34117 Kassel

We have limited places for interested researchers who are not presenting their research. Please register until Sep 21 by sending an email to surveyclimate[at]uni-kassel[dot]de. The email must include a brief motivational statement explaining why you are interested in participating. We will let you know as soon as possible, but latest, by Sep 25, whether you can participate.

Contact: surveyclimate[at]uni-kassel[dot]de



Bettina Langfeldt (University of Kassel)

Niklas Jungermann (University of Kassel)

Thorsten Euler (DZHW)

Ulrike Schwabe (DZHW)

Henning Silber (GESIS)

Bella Struminskaya (Utrecht University)


Supported by the German Academy of Sociology and the University of Kassel