European Working Conditions Survey (EWCS) (English Version) - Cognitive Pretest


This report contains the results of the post test of the 6th EWCS, carried out by GESIS - Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences (Germany). The aim is to deliver insights for the interpretation of the results of the 6th EWCS, and to deliver input for the development and revision of the 7th EWCS.
Two major research questions are addressed. The first is to establish differences in comprehension of questions between employed and self-employed respondents. Secondly, it examines potential measurement issues related to the concept of employment and the main paid job criterion for workers in atypical working situations.
For the post test a mixed-mode design was used. A cognitive online pretest in the UK, Germany, and Poland was carried out with a total of 365 employed and self-employed respondents. Face-to-face interviews with 32 respondents in Germany and Poland delivered insights on atypical working situations, such as multi-activity or precarious employment.

*Note: The items were tested both in English and German.*


Hadler, P., Neuert, C., Lenzner, T., & Menold, N. (2018): European Working Conditions Survey (EWCS) (English Version). Cognitive Pretest. GESIS Project Reports. Version: 1.0. GESIS - Pretestlab. Text.

Pretesting Results Type Construct
1 English version: Let me ask you, do you have a job?

German version: Lassen Sie mich fragen: Haben Sie selbst eine Arbeit?
Single Question Employment
2 English version: Then did you work – even if minimally, like for only an hour – for money or other payment in kind last week?

German version: Haben Sie letzte Woche - wenn auch nur minimal, wie z.B. nur für eine Stunde - für Geld oder eine sonstige Sachleistung gearbeitet?
Single Question Employment
3 English version: Please look at this card and tell me which of these categories describes your current situation the best?

German version: Bitte schauen Sie auf diese Liste und sagen Sie mir, welche dieser Kategorien Ihre derzeitige Situation am besten beschreibt.
Single Question Working situation
4 English version: And do you work part time or full time?

German version: Und arbeiten Sie Teilzeit oder Vollzeit?
Single Question Full part or part time employment
5 English version: What is the title of your main paid job? By main paid job, we mean the one where you spend most hours.

German version: Welchen Beruf üben Sie zur Zeit hauptsächlich aus? Mit dem Beruf, den Sie hauptsächlich ausüben, meinen wir die Tätigkeit, bei der Sie am meisten Zeit verbringen.
Single Question Main paid job
6 English version: What do you mainly do in your job?

German version: Was machen Sie hauptsächlich bei Ihrer Arbeit?
Single Question Content of main paid job
7 English version: Are you working as an employee or are you self-employed?

German version: Sind Sie angestellt oder sind Sie selbstständig?
Single Question Type of employment
8 English version: Are you paid a salary or a wage by an employer?

German version: Erhalten Sie Lohn oder Gehalt von einem Arbeitgeber?
Single Question Salary/wage
9 English version: Please select the category or categories which apply to your main paid job.

German version: Bitte wählen Sie die Kategorie bzw. Kategorien, die auf Ihren Hauptberuf am besten zutrifft bzw. zutreffen.
Single Question Main paid job (self-employed)
10 English version: Regarding your business, do you…?

German version: Stimmen Sie in Bezug auf Ihre Firma den folgenden Aussagen zu?
Multi-Item Scale Details on self-employment
11 English version: What kind of employment contract do you have in your main job?

German version: Was für einen Arbeitsvertrag haben Sie für den Beruf, den Sie hauptsächlich ausüben?
Single Question Employment contract
12 English version: How many hours do you usually work per week in your main paid job?

German version: Wie viele Stunden pro Woche arbeiten Sie normalerweise in Ihrem Hauptberuf?
Single Question Working time: hours per week
13 English version: How many days per week do you usually work in your main paid job?

German version: Wie viele Tage pro Woche arbeiten Sie normalerweise in Ihrem Hauptberuf?
Single Question Working time: days per week
14 English version: Besides your main paid job, do you have any other paid job(s)? (IF YES) Is it / are they ….?

German version: Üben Sie neben Ihrem Hauptberuf noch eine/mehrere andere bezahlte Tätigkeit/en aus? (FALLS JA) Ist sie/sind sie…?
Single Question Additional paid job(s)
15 English version: How many hours a week on average do you work in job(s) other than your main paid job?

German version: Wie viele Stunden pro Woche arbeiten Sie durchschnittlich in Ihrer/Ihren Nebentätigkeit(en)?
Single Question Working time: hours per week (other than main paid job)
16 English version: Over the last 12 months, how often have you worked in your free time to meet work demands?

German version: Wie oft haben Sie in den letzten 12 Monaten in Ihrer Freizeit gearbeitet, um die Arbeitsanforderungen zu erfüllen?
Single Question Working in free time
17 English version: On the whole, is your pace of work dependent on…

German version: Insgesamt gesehen, ist Ihr Arbeitstempo abhängig ...
Multi-Item Scale Work intensity
18 English version: Are you able to choose or change...

German version: Können Sie sich Folgendes aussuchen bzw. ändern?
Multi-Item Scale Autonomy
19 English version: For each of the following statements, please select the response which best describes your work situation....

German version: Bitte wählen Sie für jede der folgenden Aussagen die Antwort aus, die Ihre Arbeitssituation am besten beschreibt.
Multi-Item Scale Working situation
20 English version: Is your immediate boss a man or a woman?

German version: Ist Ihr unmittelbarer Vorgesetzter ein Mann oder eine Frau?
Single Question Immediate boss
21 English version: In the last month, has it happened at least once that you had less than 11 hours between the end of one working day and the start of the next working day?

German version: Ist es im letzten Monat bei Ihnen mindestens einmal vorgekommen, dass weniger als 11 Stunden zwischen dem Ende eines Arbeitstages und dem Start des nächsten Arbeitstages lagen?
Single Question Time between working days
22 English version: To what extent do you agree or disagree with the following statements about your job?

German version: In welchem Maß stimmen Sie den folgenden Aussagen im Zusammenhang mit Ihrer Arbeit zu oder nicht zu?
Multi-Item Scale Job prospects

Number of Participants:


Selection of Target Population/Quotas:

Quota sample
This online pretest was fielded in Great Britain, Germany and Poland. About one third of the respondents were British (n=120), another third were German (n=123) and the last third were Polish (n=122). Due to the substantive topic of this pretest (working conditions), the target population was divided into two categories (Employed and Self-Employed).
The selection of the target population was based on the quotas age (15 to 65 years in three groups: 15 – 30; 31 – 50; 51 – 65), and gender (male; female). In addition, a minimum of 30 respondents for each age group and 50 respondents for each gender was expected to fall into the category.

Test Date:

06/2018 - 10/2018

Survey mode:


Pretest mode:

Web Probing & CAPI


For both tasks, the GESIS Pretest lab conducted cognitive pretests. This method first asks respondents to answer a survey question and then poses follow-up questions, known as probing questions, asking them to reflect their understanding of certain terms or their choice of answer.
For the first task, the GESIS Pretest lab conducted a cognitive online pretest with a total of 365 employed and self-employed respondents in UK, Germany, and Poland in June 2018 recruited via an open access panel. The samples used quotas by gender, age, and type of employment. Probing answers were coded according to emerging themes and compared between respondent groups. Possible errors in the cognitive process of survey response were identified based on the results.
The interim report for task 1 was delivered in July 2018.
For the second task, face-to-face cognitive interviews were carried out by the GESIS Pretest lab and Kantar Poland with a total of 32 respondents in typical and atypical employment situations in September and October 2018. The main aim of these interviews was to assess whether the survey instruments are suitable to capture the working conditions of atypical groups of workers, or whether there are issues of coverage, non-response and measurement errors related to these groups. Half of the sample consisted of respondents who were either employed or self-employed. The other half consisted of a wide range of atypical employment situations, such as respondents who are both employed and self-employed, working in several employment contracts, or workers at the margins, with short-term contracts and/or very few hours and little pay. Emergent themes were documented on respondent level and are documented in detail including verbatims. The cognitive interviews also followed up on open questions from the first task.
This report contains the results of both cognitive online pretest and the face-to-face cognitive interviews.

Incentive for respondents:

30 Euros, 50 zloties

Project Description:

Eurofound has developed three regularly repeated pan-European surveys (ECS, EQLS and EWCS) to contribute to the planning and establishment of better living and working conditions. The surveys offer a unique source of comparative information on the quality of living and working conditions across the EU. Detailed analysis of the survey data allows Eurofound to identify new and emerging trends, as well as to gain deeper insight in the issues central to European policy. The results provide a strong basis for policymakers to identify opportunities for improvement and to develop forward-looking perspectives. The surveys are a key element in Eurofound’s mission to provide high-quality information and advice for EU and national-level policymakers, social partners, researchers and European citizens alike.
The EWCS is the longest running survey, and has become an established source of information about working conditions and the quality of work and employment. Having been implemented since 1990, it enables monitoring of long-term trends in working conditions in Europe. Themes covered include employment status, working time arrangements, work organisation, learning and training, physical and psychosocial risk factors, health and safety, worker participation, work–life balance, earnings and financial security, as well as work and health.



Agnes Parent-Thirion

Pretest Report (English): Link mit Abbildung für pdf Datei Download Citation: Hadler, P., Neuert, C., Lenzner, T., & Menold, N. (2018): European Working Conditions Survey (EWCS) (English Version). Cognitive Pretest. GESIS Project Reports. Version: 1.0. GESIS - Pretestlab. Text.