Information for respondents

Information for respondents

You were contacted by one of our interviewers and asked to participate in a survey. Now you have questions about our company and data protection. In this context we have compiled some relevant information for you. Please contact us if we could not answer all your questions at this point.

Declaration on data protection and the absolute confidentiality of your data during interviews

Your rights, as well as the rights and obligations of IFAK regarding the use of your personal data for the purpose of market research, are formulated in the European Data Protection Regulation (DSGVO) and in the new Federal Data Protection Act (BDSG-neu). These have been valid since 25.5.2018 and replace the previously valid German Federal Data Protection Act.

Your participation in our surveys is voluntary. You will not suffer any disadvantages if you do not participate. It goes without saying that all regulations of the DSGVO and the BDSG-neu are observed.

Our data protection officer appointed in accordance with Article 37 DSGVO is Mr Mirco Felsch. He monitors compliance with the DSGVO, the BDSG-neu and other regulations on data protection. Please address any questions regarding data protection in our telephone surveys and our data protection declaration directly to our data protection officer:

Mirco Felsch

Data protection officer

Methods & Quality Control

Phone: +49 6128/747-0

E-Mail: datenschutzbeauftragter(at)

What is market and social research?

The term market and social research combines various research areas such as market and social research, political research and election research. They all work with the same, scientifically recognised methods, only the contents of the research areas differ.

They systematically research different areas of society, politics and economics. Market and social research also wants to learn more about the behaviour and motivations of the institutions, groups and individuals who act in these areas. The market and social researchers collect information about markets and population groups, about economic, social and socio-psychological facts, contexts and developments.

They can be employed or self-employed by companies, associations, politics, market and social research institutes or universities.

Market and social research is carried out on the researchers‘ own initiative or on behalf of commercial enterprises, associations and politics. They want to know what the needs of their customers or the population are in order to offer them appropriate products, services or policies. Thus, potentially everyone from the entire population has a say if they are willing to participate in surveys. By answering a survey, you can influence decisions of companies, politics and economy!

Characteristics of market and social research are scientific character, the prohibition to combine non-research activities with market and social research, as well as the guarantee of anonymity and data protection. The core feature is that the answers may only be evaluated in anonymised form, i.e. in such a way that no conclusions can be drawn about individual persons.

Why do I get picked?

For the various tasks of market and social research, a certain group of people is relevant, depending on the specific topic of the study. This can be the entire population as well as sub-groups, for example hobby cooks, students or the buyers of a certain product. This relevant group is called the population.

Example: In a survey on satisfaction with a certain make of car, the people who drive that make of car are relevant for the researchers. In an election survey, all eligible voters of that choice are important as a population.

Unfortunately, it is usually not possible to survey the entire population. For this reason, only a part of the group is interviewed, as it were on a representative basis. This part is called random sample. The sample must meet certain criteria so that the results can be transferred to the population and are „representative“.

So if you belong to a population that is relevant to a question, it can happen that you are randomly selected for the sample by mathematical-statistical selection procedures. Therefore, in principle, anyone can be selected for a survey for market and social research purposes, but remains completely anonymous.

How can a serious market research survey be distinguished from an advertising call?

Sometimes it is not easy for respondents to know whether they are being approached for a real survey for market and social research purposes or a disguised sales campaign. This is especially true when the surveys are conducted by telephone. There are a few characteristics that can help you to recognize that you are really being asked to participate in a survey. Then participation is harmless, because the data collected is handled with care.

In market and social research, interviewers are obliged to

  • to answer questions of the called parties
  • Pointing out the protection of the anonymity of the respondents
  • To name the institute/researcher
  • On request, provide a callback number to verify who is calling

In principle, if the caller hangs up on questions or if an interviewer becomes gruff on the street, for example if the respondents want to know the institute of the survey again or a telephone number to be sure, or if questions are not answered or only evasively answered, then it is probably not a real survey for research purposes.

Where does IFAK get my contact details?

If we have contacted you by phone, there are two possible sources from which we may have your phone number.

  1. On the one hand, we have software that can generate almost all existing telephone numbers in Germany. From this large amount of numbers, yours was chosen at random. This does not mean that we would know your name and address or know other things about you. We then only have a telephone number and the information from which municipality, county and state this number probably comes. Nothing more.
  2. The second possibility is that our client, i.e. the company or institution for which we carry out the survey, has your contact details because you are a customer or member of that company or institution. For example, if this client wants us to interview his customers, he may provide us with your data, unless you have prohibited him from passing on your data for a market research survey.

Even if the contact was made by an interviewer in person at your home, you were either selected by a random mechanism or IFAK received your contact details from the client of the survey, who, e.g. a customer relationship, has your data at his disposal and passed it on to us for the purpose of the survey.

Who conducts the telephone interviews?

In conducting the telephone interviews, the IFAK Institute is supported by two partner telephone studios:

  • rilaton GmbH, Georg-Ohm-Straße 1, 65232 Taunusstein,
  • TeleMatrix GmbH, Binger Str. 14-16, 55122 Mainz,
Does IFAK even have the right to use my data to contact me?

Many people believe that we should not have their contact details or use them because they have not given their consent.

However, in most cases this is not the case, as the European Data Protection Regulation allows IFAK to use your data (e.g. your telephone number) to contact you with a request to participate in a survey. According to the law, IFAK in most cases does not require your consent for this.

However, there are exceptions, as your consent is required for particularly sensitive data to be forwarded to us or used by us. These so-called „special categories of personal data“ include information on racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, religious or philosophical beliefs, trade union membership, health data, as well as data on sex life and sexual orientation.

The permission to use your data is usually taken from Article 6 paragraph 1 letter f) of the European Data Protection Basic Regulation.

In addition, if IFAK wishes to use your data, it must comply with a number of regulations to ensure that you are not disadvantaged as a result. These are these measures in detail:

  • We may only use your data for this one survey for which we have asked you for an interview.
  • We are not allowed to store your data in order to use it for another survey soon afterwards.
  • We would only be allowed to do so if you gave us your consent.
  • We must protect your data from access by persons who do not need this access for their work on the survey.

In other words, even at IFAK, only those employees who need to do so because it is necessary for the work on a study can view and process their data.

We are not allowed to pass on or even sell your data to others, i.e. to persons or companies who are not involved in conducting the survey.

What you tell us within a survey remains anonymous, i.e. your answers are not combined with information from which someone could conclude that these answers originate from you. This also means, of course, that our clients, for whom we carry out the studies, will never know that the data and information originates from you. The evaluation of the survey data is exclusively anonymous.

Your contact data will be deleted three weeks after the study is completed.

What rights do I have when it comes to the use of my personal data?

According to the DSGVO you have the following rights to determine yourself what happens to your data:

  • Right to information (Art. 15 DSGVO): You have the right to ask IFAK what data of yours IFAK has and where IFAK got this data. IFAK must then make this data available to you for inspection if you so wish.
  • Right of rectification (Art. 16 DSGVO): You can request that incorrect data be corrected and incomplete data completed.
  • Right to deletion (Art. 17 DSGVO): You can request IFAK to delete your contact details and IFAK is obliged to comply with this request without delay.
  • Right to object (Art. 21 DSGVO): You can object to the use of your personal data at IFAK at any time. IFAK will then no longer contact you using this data.
  • Right to data transferability (Art. 20 DSGVO): You have the right to request IFAK to transfer your data held by IFAK to you or to an addressee (e.g. another company) designated by you.
  • Right to complain to the supervisory authority (Art. 77 DSGVO): If you have any questions, problems or complaints about data protection, please first contact IFAK’s data protection officer.

However, IFAK is legally obliged to inform you that you have the right to complain to the relevant supervisory authority. In the case of IFAK, this is the Hessian Data Protection Commissioner.

If you have any questions or comments regarding data protection, please contact the IFAK data protection officer:

Mirco Felsch

Phone: 06128/747-0


What about market research with anonymity and privacy?

Market researchers are interested in opinions, but not in being able to assign the opinions expressed to individual persons. In addition to the legal requirements, market researchers have committed themselves in the ICC/ESOMAR Code and in national guidelines to protect the anonymity of both respondents and clients. This is an essential prerequisite for successful research work – from a legal point of view, but also because people are only willing to share their honest opinions because of this security.

Market and social research data may only be evaluated in such a way that it is not possible to draw conclusions about individual respondents. Personal data will not be passed on under any circumstances. The address data and the answers to the questions will be kept separately from each other and correspondingly securely stored. The address data will be destroyed at the earliest possible time.

Even in the case of telephone surveys, the market researchers guarantee anonymity of the interviewed persons beyond data protection.

How does market and social research differ from sales?

Many people have already been asked to answer a few questions on the phone. At the end of the conversation something was offered for sale (lottery tickets, magazine subscriptions, etc.). This is not market and social research, as there is a ban on combining surveys with non-research activities (e.g. selling).

In market and social research, strict attention is paid to ensuring that the anonymity and data protection of the respondents and the client are maintained. This is the essential difference to sales: market and social researchers consistently protect the anonymity of the respondents. No individual information or personal data is passed on to third parties and nothing is sold.

The aim is not, as in direct marketing, to obtain information about individuals in order to be able to sell better, but the aim of market and social research is to provide generally valid bases for decision-making. The basis for this is a sufficiently large number of individual answers which, when combined, allow generalized statements to be made.

What happens to the answers I gave?

Market and social research evaluates the collected data with scientific methods, i.e. comprehensible, repeatable and objective, as the institutes are committed to scientific research. Market and social researchers seek generalizable findings, for example to improve products. The basis for such findings is a sufficiently large number of individual answers (compare: „Why am I being selected?“).

Irrespective of the survey method, all personal data is first made anonymous, i.e. all personal data is separated from the answers. Only then do the market researchers further process the collected data.

According to scientific rules, the data is combined into result groups. Statistical methods and specific computer programs support the researchers in the evaluation. The results obtained are presented and interpreted in a report.

In all individual steps, care is taken to ensure that the anonymity and data protection of the respondents and the client is maintained.

What to do with fake surveys?

Unfortunately, it happens again and again that the statement „We are doing a survey“ is only used as an excuse to offer people products and services for sale without being asked, for example on the telephone (so-called cold calls). This behaviour has now put a considerable strain on market and social research in Germany. If this has happened to you, we would be pleased if you could let us know. We will be happy to involve the responsible authorities in this case. The more you can tell us about such a call, the better (date and time of the call, telephone number called, outgoing telephone number, name of the caller, company named in the telephone call, content of the purchase offer made later).

IFAK Institut GmbH & Co. KG

Georg-Ohm-Straße 1, 65232 Taunusstein

Phone +49-6128-747-0

Fax +49-6128-747-995