Current Pollution Reports

, Volume 4, Issue 3, pp 220–239 | Cite as

A Review of Socio-acoustic Surveys for Soundscape Studies

  • Margret Sibylle EngelEmail author
  • André Fiebig
  • Carmella Pfaffenbach
  • Janina Fels
Noise Pollution (P Zannin, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Noise Pollution


Purpose of Review

This article reviews the literature and presents the current status of the use of socio-acoustic surveys in soundscape studies, through the indication of appropriate question formats, types, and topics for each data collection method (soundwalks, interviews, listening tests, and focus group) for the involved public and acoustic stimuli.

Recent Findings

The ISO 12913-2 establishes ways of data collection and reporting requirements for soundscape studies (International Organization for Standartization 2017), including the triangulation technique. This standard recommends some data collection methods, like soundwalks and interviews. Even so, some authors are using different methods to collect data, such as focus group and listening tests.


This study investigated through 52 peer-reviewed papers published on the last 20 years the current status of socio-acoustic studies regarding question topics and types, used stimuli, and characteristics about the participants, using the four major adopted data collection methods in soundscape studies: soundwalks, interviews, listening tests, and focus group. Some topics like “soundscape quality” and “sound sources identification and evaluation” are common in the recent studies, as well as the adoption of some question types such as semantic differential scale, the staple scale, and ranking order scale.


Soundscape Socio-acoustic survey Soundwalks Interviews Listening tests 



The authors also would like to thank the reviewers for the nice suggestions and recommendations, as well as the editor of the section Noise Pollution, Prof. Dr.-Ing. Paulo Henrique Trombetta Zannin, for the kind invitation to submit this manuscript to the Journal Current Pollution Reports.

Funding Information

The authors received financing scholarships from the Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior/Programa Ciências sem Fronteiras (CAPES—Brazil’s National Coordination of Personal Improvement on Superior Level/Science Without Borders Program) and the Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD—German Academic Exchange Service).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Margret Sibylle Engel
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • André Fiebig
    • 3
  • Carmella Pfaffenbach
    • 1
  • Janina Fels
    • 2
  1. 1.Geography DepartmentRWTH Aachen UniversityAachenGermany
  2. 2.Institute of Technical Acoustics, Medical Acoustics GroupRWTH Aachen UniversityAachenGermany
  3. 3.HEAD acoustics GmbHHerzogenrathGermany

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