Skip to content

Frequently asked questions for panel members

General questions

How can I participate in The Social Study?

You can only participate in The Social Study if you are invited by us. When we look for new panel members, we select a group of citizens from the population register. Only people from this randomly drawn sample can participate. When you are invited to participate in The Social Study, you will receive a letter and information brochures with additional information about The Social Study. You can then either complete a welcome questionnaire online right away or complete this questionnaire together with an interviewer a few weeks later.

I have received an invitation letter from The Social Study, what do I do?

We invite you to participate in The Social Study. The first time, you will fill out a short questionnaire to get to know The Social Study. You can do this online, using the link and code in the letter. You can also do this together with an interviewer, who will visit your home after a few weeks. At the end of the questionnaire, you can decide to participate in The Social Study. If you decide to participate, we will thank you with a reward of 8 euros. After joining, you will be invited six to ten times a year to complete a questionnaire, either online or on paper. For each completed questionnaire, you will receive a reward of 8 euros.

What is a panel?

A panel is a fixed group of people who fill out questionnaires on various topics on a regular basis.

What should I do if I am a panel member?

As a panel member, you will complete a questionnaire every six weeks, either online or on paper. You will have about a month to complete the questionnaire. For each completed questionnaire, you will receive a reward of 8 euros. When you have completed 6 questionnaires, you will receive an additional reward of 20 euros. You can participate for as long as you want. The Social Study is designed to do research about changes over time. Therefore, the longer you participate, the better we can measure these changes. 

Can I participate if I don’t have a computer or access to the internet?

You can still participate in The Social Study, even if you do not have a computer or access to the internet. You can complete the welcome questionnaire together with an interviewer. During the interviewer’s visit, you can also indicate that you would like to complete the questionnaires on paper in the future. After the interviewer’s visit, we will send you a letter and infobrochure with more information about the next steps. Every six weeks you will receive a questionnaire by postal mail. You can return it to The Social Study free of charge using the pre-stamped envelope we send you together with the questionnaire. You will receive your reward of 8 euros in your bank account once we have processed your completed questionnaire if you returned the questionnaire before the deadline.

Why should I participate?

To achieve a reliable representation of the entire Belgian population, it is important that as many as possible selected persons participate. Only if this is the case, we will be able to make reliable statements about what the population thinks. The panel consists of about 5,000 people. The panel includes men, women, younger and older persons, who have lived in Belgium for generations or only moved here very recently, with high and low incomes, employed and non-employed, married and single persons,… Your participation will help scientists from universities with their research. The participation of every panel member is important to be able to do reliable research. 

How much time does it take?

Completing a questionnaire takes approximately between 15 and 20 minutes. 

Who is conducting the research?

The Social Study was created together by the eleven Belgian universities. Statbel provides a sample of randomly selected Belgians who are contacted and asked to participate in the panel. The research agency Ipsos/MCM takes care of the initial contacts with the selected individuals and asks them to participate in The Social Study. From the moment a person has confirmed their participation, they will only have contact with staff members of The Social Study. These staff members are affiliated to one of the Belgian universities.

How did The Social Study get my information?

You have been selected by chance from the National Register together with 18.000 other Belgians.

How do I log in to The Social Study’s panel environment? 

You can log in via with your email address and your chosen password. Have you forgotten your password? Then you can choose a new password by entering your e-mail address on the login page and clicking “Forgot your password?”

I have completed the welcome questionnaire and I want to participate in The Social Study. When will I receive my reward? 

You will receive your reward in your bank account as soon as we have processed your questionnaire. This will still take a few weeks after the deadline.

I completed the welcome questionnaire but I do not want to participate in the other studies of The Social Study. Will I still receive a reward? 

If you decide not to participate in The Social Study after completing the welcome questionnaire, you can keep the 5 euros gift card you received with the letter. You will not receive any additional reward.

I received a letter from The Social Study. It mentions that it’s best if I participate before a certain date. Can I still participate after this date? 

After the deadline in the invitation letter to participate in The Social Study, you can still decide to participate and you will still receive a reward. If you choose to complete the questionnaires on paper and you return the questionnaire after this date, you will unfortunately not receive a reward for completing the questionnaire.

How are ethics and consent organized for the panel? 

TSS operates on the lawful bases of being a task in the public interest and necessary for research and archiving purposes, as outlined in both the General Data Protection Regulation and the Act on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data. Upon registration, panel members have also provided their ethical consent to become part of the panel. To ensure that all ethical standards are met, researchers must have their proposed study approved by the ethical review board of their institution, and provide a certificate of approval during submission. The data protection statement for panel members can be found here