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Understanding Society - New data release

Article dated: 24 February 2012

Longitudinal research making use of Understanding Society is now possible for the very first time with an interim release of the second wave of data from the survey. people walking

In November 2011 data from the complete Wave 1 of the survey, which first began collecting information in 2009, was deposited. More than 350 researchers have already downloaded survey data from this first wave.

The Understanding Society team hopes that the latest data release will encourage researchers across the UK and around the globe to start thinking of the longitudinal research possibilities and begin to access and use the rich and varied information available to them in their analysis.

Director of the study Nick Buck said: "We have been delighted with the response so far to the availability of data from Wave 1, but the survey team is even more excited by the prospects of longitudinal research that come with the interim or partial release of Wave 2."

Wave 2 of the study includes the second round of annual interviews with people who participate in the survey, which asks wide-ranging questions about their working and personal lives, attitudes and beliefs. The survey will be following the same respondents through their lives, tracking their various circumstances and attitudes.

Wave 1 of the study was carried out across a two-year period from 2009-2010, while Wave 2 took place between 2010-2011. Although Wave 2 interviews have been completed, only part of it is being made available, with the remaining information due to be released in the Autumn of 2012.

Nick Buck added: "This is a wide-ranging and complex study involving thousands of householders and we only release the data once it has been thoroughly checked by our team of survey experts here at ISER. That way researchers can be guaranteed that the quality of the information they receive is world-class."

Researchers interested in using the data can access it via the Economic and Social Data Service Understanding Society list of datasets.

A support forum has been introduced, which can be accessed via the Understanding Society website.

A team of researchers with early access to the data has already been examining the material across a range of areas - from young people's health and well-being, links between parents' income and children's achievements, and the role of social support networks in coping with stressful events, through to the division of housework and a range of specially-commissioned research using the survey's 'ethnicity boost sample'. The findings from this research are due to be published on 27 February 2012.

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