Call for Papers: Special Issue of methods, data, analyses 2/2026

Special Issue of mda: Challenges in the Implementation of PIAAC Cycle 2

Guest Editors:

Anouk Zabal (GESIS – Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences,

Silke Martin (GESIS – Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences,


PIAAC, the Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies, is a multi-cycle survey that aims at measuring key skills in the adult populations of the participating countries in an internationally comparable manner. In order to obtain the highest quality of data possible, extensive processes of quality assurance and quality control are put in place by an international Consortium. The national PIAAC data collections are carried out within this quality framework, adhering to gold standards in survey methodology.

The second cycle of PIAAC implemented various innovative elements such as the introduction of a tablet-only administration for the PIAAC interview – and specifically also for the cognitive assessment, an international case management system to manage fieldwork production, or the introduction of a dashboard as a tool to monitor fieldwork. For the instrument development, a balance was sought between including new elements in the instrumentation while maintaining comparability with the first cycle of PIAAC. The COVID-19 pandemic impacted on the data collection of both the field study, carried out in 2021, and the main survey, carried out in 2022/2023. Many countries faced difficulties during fieldwork, such as declining response rates, and had to rise to the challenge of adapting to changing situations and constraints. Above and beyond this special situation, the PIAAC survey has many implementational challenges stemming from its unique design and specifications. The implementations of the international survey PIAAC within the national settings and the different national solutions to meeting the international standards and tackling challenges offer interesting lessons learnt.

We invite authors to submit an article on the implementation of PIAAC Cycle 2 to a special issue of methods, data, and analyses. The focus of this special issue is on methodological issues: These may range from aspects arising from the implementation of PIAAC in the national context to issues pertaining to international survey implementation and design. The goal is for the papers to extend the survey methodological body of knowledge, to reflect on the experiences and findings, and possibly offer insights towards the implementation of the next cycle of PIAAC or other international surveys and large-scale assessments.

Contributions may cover a wide range of topics, including but not limited to:

  • Innovation versus trend
  • Data quality
  • Instrumentation, national adaptations
  • Administration modes
  • Sampling, weighting, variance estimation
  • Nonresponse bias
  • Paradata
  • Gaining respondent cooperation (e.g., incentives)
  • Maximizing response rates
  • Sample monitoring and adaptive design
  • Interviewer recruitment, attrition, training, characteristics, behaviour
  • Fieldwork monitoring, dashboards, validation
  • Case management systems
  • Doorstep Interviewing

Submission procedure: Authors are invited to submit a proposal (abstract) of 250-300 words (prospective authors are welcome to email the guest editors with questions about their proposed paper and to consult on whether the topic is within the scope of this special issue). Please register as an author on the mda homepage ( and submit abstracts in the section "Abstracts for Special Issue on Challenges in the Implementation of PIAAC Cycle 2". 

A subset of authors will be invited to submit a full manuscript which will be peer reviewed.

For the full paper, authors should follow the mda Author Guidelines ( Accepted papers will be published Online First. The Special Issue will appear in summer, 2026.



Proposal (abstract), 250-350 words due

July 19, 2024

Decisions on proposals

September 1, 2024

Full papers due

July 1, 2025

Decision on full papers

November 1, 2025

Submission of revised manuscripts

January 31, 2026

Final decision

April, 2026

Special issue published online

July, 2026