The national Graduate Panel 2017 is a joint research project by three research institutes: the German Centre for Higher Education Research and Science Studies (DZWH) in Hanover, the International Centre for Higher Education Research at the University Kassel (INCHER-Kassel) and the Institute for Applied Statistics (ISTAT) in Kassel. Hereinafter referred to as research partners.
Legal basis for the collection of data is the consent of the respondents for the storage of the data given to the research partners voluntarily. As far as this includes all personal data (data concerning identified or identifiable persons) will be anonymized immediately according to BDSG §40 as far as possible keeping in mind the purpose of the research.
Contacting potential participants
Access to the graduates is only possible via the respective HEI, so cooperation between the research partners and the HEIs is necessary. Due to this cooperation HEIs agree to support an external research project by "Adressmittlerverfahren". The respective HEI sends the letter of invitation to their graduates, who can then access an online questionnaire and submit the survey data to the research partners. As a result of this approach, names and addresses of graduates remain unknown to the research partners and in turn, the HEI itself does not collect any survey data. Therefore, the linkage between survey data and address/identifiable data is avoided.
Access control to online survey
Only persons with a valid access code can enter the online survey. The access codes will be authorized by the research partners. The research partners pass the access codes to the HEIs. The HEIs then transmit them via letter of invitation to the potential participants. To maintian anonymity of the participants (= graduates) the HEIs do not share with the research partners, which access code is linked with which participants.
Information for potential participants
Potential participants are informed in the letter of invitation that participation in the Graduate Panel is voluntarily and that the survey is carried out for the purpose of scientific research. In addition, the start screen of the surveys is designed in such a way that potential participants are informed anew that participation in the Graduate Panel is voluntary and the survey data will be used by the research partners for scientific purposes. This information is given before the actual survey starts and even before entering the access code. Subsequently, potential participants are asked to agree to these points by entering the access code and start the survey.
Publication of results
The survey results will be published in such a form that the identification of institutions and individuals will not be possible. Participating HEIs will receive anonymized results about the graduates of their institution. The research partners provide these HEI results exclusively for the respective HEI. The further use of the results is the responsibily of the HEI.
After the publication of project results by the research partners the survey data will be published in a virtually anonymous way as a scientific use file (SUF), so that external researchers and scientists can use the data of the Graduate Panel 2017 for their research questions.
Contact data for the implementation of a longitudinal survey
At the end of the online questionnaire participats will be ask for their willingness to participate in follow-up surveys after a gap of several years (longitudinal survey). Provided that this consent is provided, contact details of the participants are queried and stored (name, postal address, email address). This voluntarily given and stored contact information is used for no other purposes than for the invitation to follow-up surveys of the Graduate Panel. The possibly given contact data is stored via an encrypted internet-connection on a server based directly at ISTAT. This address is never stored together with the survey data in one file. In this respect, from the perspective of the research partners the survey data is at any point of the survey completely anonymous.