In Germany, large inquiries are questions that are usually submitted by a parliamentary group of the opposition and are addressed to the federal or state government . Conversely, a party in the government camp may submit such a request in order to give its own ministers an opportunity to report comprehensively on a project or on successes.
In contrast to small questions , big questions are more extensive, answering the government requires more administrative effort and the written answer is usually discussed in parliament.
The German Bundestag regulates the form and the procedure for major inquiries to the Federal Government in to the Rules of Procedure of the German Bundestag (GOBT). In accordance with Clause 1 of the Rules of Procedure, major inquiries must be brief and specific, can be provided with a brief justification and must be submitted to the President of the Bundestag . The prerequisite is that the major request is submitted by at least 5% of the MPs or a parliamentary group .  The President of the Bundestag directs the Federal Government's major inquiry pursuant to to the rules of procedure and ask them to explain whether and when they will answer the question.
The Federal Government usually receives a response after several months. In contrast to the answer to a minor question, it can then be debated in the Bundestag.  According to the Rules of Procedure, the debate must take place if it is requested by a parliamentary group or by as many members of the Bundestag as can form a parliamentary group. If the Federal Government rejects the answer entirely within a certain period of time, the Bundestag can put the major inquiry on the agenda for discussion in accordance with the Rules of Procedure.
By the end of the 18th legislative period in 2017, 1,392 major inquiries had been sent to the Federal Government across all legislative periods. In the 10th electoral term, 175 major inquiries were reached, the highest level within one legislative period. Since then, the number of major inquiries has declined: in the last legislative period only 15 such inquiries were made.   With nine inquiries, the Left Party in the Bundestag used the instrument most frequently in that legislative period. The remaining six questions were brought in by the Bündnis 90 / Die Grünen parliamentary group. The declining number of large inquiries can be explained, among other things, by the freely selectable and thus often long response times of the federal government, as this is not stipulated in the rules of procedure of the German Bundestag compared to small inquiries. This makes it difficult for MPs to obtain information on current events from the federal government at short notice.
German state parliaments
The regulations in the German state parliaments largely correspond to the regulations for the German Bundestag. The rules of procedure of the Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania state parliament and the Saarland state parliament , for example, stipulate that a parliamentary group or at least four MPs can table a major question and the same quorum can also be used to request that the answer be put on the state parliament's agenda.  On the other hand, the major question in the state parliament of Brandenburg has to be made by a fifth of the MPs, unless an entire parliamentary group can agree on it.  In the Schleswig-Holstein state parliament18 of the total of 69 MEPs must even be signed if the questioner is not a political group. [8th]
- German Bundestag: Big question
- German Bundestag: Big question
- German Bundestag: Data Handbook on the History of the German Bundestag 1949 to 1999 , p. 2639.
- German Bundestag: Data Handbook on the History of the German Bundestag 1990 to 2010 , Chapter 11.1 “Inquiries”, pp. 2–5.
- German Bundestag: Data Handbook on the History of the German Bundestag 1990 to 2010 , Chapter 11.1 "Inquiries", p. 5.
- § 62 of the rules of procedure of the 6th Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania state parliament (PDF; 379 kB) or § 59 of the rules of procedure of the Saarland state parliament (PDF; 110 kB) ( page no longer available , search in web archives ) Info: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.
- Section 56 sentence 3 of the rules of procedure of the 5th Brandenburg State Parliament (PDF; 404 kB) ( Memento of the original from January 6, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.
- Section 38 of Section 38 of the Rules of Procedure of the Schleswig-Holstein Landtag