To support external users' work with the data, a range of documentation material is available for the Scientific Use Files of the German Survey on Volunteering.

FWS Documentation

If you use the content of this documentation material for publications, we kindly request that you indicate the source according to the rules of good scientific work. Each document contains a reference of how to cite it.


Research Instrument (German)2019



Research Instrument (English)

2019 2014200920041999
User Manual (German, "Kurzbeschreibung")2019Trend 1999-201420142009/2004/1999

User Manual (Englisch)

The User Manual provides detailed information on the sampling procedure, the classification scheme of the variable names and explanations for the generated and constructed variables. Apart from that, editing procedures are documented in detail. The Short Description is a valuable if not necessary guide for scholars working with the data.


List of Variable Correspondence

In order to facilitate time-series analyses, the FDZ-DZA provides a list of variable correspondence (with English and German variable labels). With this chart, it becomes obvious which information has been surveyed in which year and how the respective variable names and labels are named. 


List of Variable Correspondence FWS Trend 1999–2014

The list of variable correspondence for the SUF FWS Trend 1999–2014 provides an overview over the variables included in the trend dataset (with English and German variable labels and value labels). With this chart, it becomes obvious which variables from the original SUF of the respective survey years (1999 to 2014) were used to generate the trend variable.

 Trend 1999–2014   
Codebook (German)2019Trend 1999-20142014200920041999

Codebook (English)

In the 'Codebook' we compiled every variable of the survey year with their individual categories (including missing values), labels and overall unconditional frequencies. Hence, the codebook provides a complete list of variables contained in the SUF FWS.

2019Trend 1999-20142014200920041999

Questionnaire (German)

The 'Questionnaire 2014' is identical to the Instrument 2014 (see above). The documents 'Questionnaire 2009', 'Questionnaire 2004' and 'Questionnaire 1999' are the pdf-versions of the original survey instrument as published in the respective main report (German only).


Methodological Report (German)

The documents 'Methodological Report' contain detailed information on the sampling procedure and the realisation of the survey (for 2019 and 2014, by infas GmbH, for 1999-2009 by Infratest Sozialforschung GmbH). They are available in German only.

2019 2014200920041999

Chapter "Data and Methods" (German)

The chapters on data and methods of the FWS 2014 and FWS 2019 are extracts from the respective main report. They provide a detailed overview of the survey process and the checks and editing of the data.

2014 2014   


The Stata-syntax used to generate the user-friendly variables contained in the SUF is documented in a pdf-file. Registered users can obtain this document from the password-protected download area. If you are otherwise interested in the generating syntax, we are happy to help if you contact the FDZ-DZA support.


You can find an overview of all FWS-related DOIs on our FWS DOI summary page.


Report on the German Survey on Volunteering 2019

The report "Freiwilliges Engagement in Deutschland - Der Deutsche Freiwilligensurvey 2019" (Volunteering in Germany - The German Survey on Volunteering 2019) is available in open access (in German) at Springer VS. In addition, a Compact Report for the German Survey on Volunteering 2019 in English has been published. 


Reports on the German Survey on Volunteering 1999, 2004, 2009 and 2014


You can find selected publications based on the volunteer survey in the sectionpublications .