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Detailed overview of service

Longitudinal data portfolio

ESDS Longitudinal focuses on nine main studies, which include some of the most heavily used of all UK datasets.

  • British Cohort Study 1970 (BCS70)
  • British Household Panel Survey (BHPS)
  • English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA)
  • Families and Children Study (FACS)
  • Growing Up in Scotland (GUS)
  • Longitudinal Study of Young People in England (LSYPE)
  • Millennium Cohort Study (MCS)
  • National Child Development Survey (NCDS)
  • Understanding Society

Understanding Society (now incorporating the BHPS) is collected and deposited by the ULSC at Essex, while the Centre for Longitudinal Studies (CLS) at the Institute of Education is responsible for the three cohort studies. ELSA is deposited by the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen), FACS is deposited by the Department for Work and Pensions, GUS is deposited by the Scottish Centre for Social Research (ScotCen) and LSYPE is deposited by the Department for Education. ESDS Longitudinal co-operates closely with the depositors. ESDS Longitudinal will also encourage links with other datasets not directly supported by ESDS, such as the ONS Longitudinal Study. In conjunction with the ESRC National Longitudinal Strategy Committee, it aims to identify other longitudinal data collections suitable for inclusion. Possible candidates include the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) (see ALSPAC sampler files held by the ESDS), and the 1946 Birth Cohort.

Value-added products

ESDS Longitudinal helps users to investigate and use the datasets by:

  • creating sampler files in Nesstar to facilitate the exploration of the content of the data
  • providing access to enhanced documentation, and tools for data subsetting and matching
  • improving information on weighting, missing data and statistical adjustments. Harmonised data standards across all waves or sweeps, and assurance of the integrity of case identifiers are required to make data usage much simpler and transparent. There is also scope for improvement of weighting, the presentation of missing data and other statistical adjustments, and additional derived variables. The ULSC is already undertaking this work for the NCDS, BCS70 and BHPS.
  • allowing researchers to make use of restricted data, especially geo-coded data, where this can be done without prejudicing the confidentiality of survey respondents

Online access

Data are available via the UK Data Archive web-based download system. Simple registration with ESDS is required to download the longitudinal datasets. Datasets will be made available through Nesstar where the data structure makes this helpful to users.

Training courses

ESDS Longitudinal offers training courses for users with varying levels of expertise. These include:

  • meetings introducing the range of data available
  • focused workshops, training and 'data confrontation' sessions on particular datasets

Keeping in touch

A wide range of dissemination and outreach activities provide support for, and awareness of, the potential of longitudinal datasets including:

  • a dedicated help desk linked to the user support provided by the ULSC and the CLS
  • regularly updated web-based frequently asked questions
  • a JISCmail discussion list - a forum to raise debate on issues arising in the use of the longitudinal datasets
  • news bulletins and articles

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Here are some links to get started with the service:

ESDS Home Page > ESDS Longitudinal Home Page > About > Detailed overview of service