The Process

The Expats & Spouses Monitor carries out survey-based research on expatriates and expatriates’ partners in Germany.
In order to guarantee the quality and the relevance of the information collected by the survey, we went through the series of methodological steps described in this section. The survey was launched in January 2021 and closed at early March 2021. The report Expats & Spouses In Focus with key research findings was published in September 2021.

Facts and Figures

➔ 19 Exploratory interviews
➔ 35 Structured interviews with expats, expats’ spouses, and HR managers
➔ 5 Iterations of the Developmental Loop
➔ Final Questionnaire pre-tested by 18 expats, 19 expats’ partners and 11 HR managers before launching
➔ Testers were from 8 countries and 6 different industries

Interview Phase


To explore opinions, viewpoints and feelings of our respondents. We sought for a close understanding of the different dimensions in the life of expats and their partners.


Creating a conversational atmosphere around the subject, allowing participants to freely disclose their opinions and experiences in Germany without time or topic constraint.


Identifying key dimensions of expatriates’ and their partners’ life in Germany.


● To search for comprehensive details about the major dimensions identified throughout the exploratory interviews.
● To ensure that every relevant dimension in expats’ and partners’ life is properly portrayed by including also the perspective of HR managers.


Through structured interviews that allowed us to get in-depth information about the key dimensions identified in the previous phase.


Essential input to create the questionnaire.

Developmental Loop


  • To ensure the quality of the questionnaire.
  • To test the online questionnaire implementation.


Creating an initial questionnaire and improving it by searching for feedback about:
✔ Clarity: Is the meaning of the questions easy to understand?
✔ Sensitivity: Do people feel comfortable answering the questions?
✔ Logic: Are the questions applicable to the situation of each individual?
✔ Content: Do the questions recall expats’ and partners’ experiences?
✔ Completeness: Are all the key topics included in the questionnaire?


After 5 iterations of the Developmental Loop, the final version of the Expats & Spouses Monitor questionnaire.

Final Questionnaire

The questionnaire collects comprehensive information about the following areas

Work and Occupational Situation

Personal and Family Life

Career and Career Development

Opinion about Germany and their city

 Social Life and Integration


Its design allows to perform different analyses

It also includes two validated scales extensively used in social-sciences research


Greenhaus, Parasuraman,
and Wormley (1990)

Single-item life

GSOEP Panel Study (2010)

Longitudinal study. In comparison to a cross-sectional (data collected only once), a longitudinal design allows us to chart change throughout time.

We will invite participants of the first questionnaire to do it again in a year’s time. Thus, we will get a more accurate picture of their careers and living conditions.

Are you interested in technical information about the questionnaire (e.g. factor structure, items reliability)?