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The question bank has evolved!

Article dated: 19 December 2012

The UK Data Service has produced a new way to search for survey variables and questions. The UK Data Service Variable and question bank - beta search interface has been designed to replace the existing Survey Question Bank question search and shares the look-and-feel of the recently released UK Data Service Discovery catalogue.


Like Discovery, the Variable and question bank offers faceted searching, allowing users to filter results and run complex queries on our variable and question library.

Currently, the search covers over 450,000 variable records, with over 250,000 containing question text/responses.

The variables are taken from a range of the most popular survey series and longitudinal studies held by the UK Data Service. Each variable record provides a link to more information about the item and users may select and store variables in their My Variables basket and compare them side-by-side.

A key and novel feature of the resource is its integration with the Government Statistical Service (GSS) harmonised concepts and questions standard.

More than 13,000 variables are flagged as belonging to the GSS harmonised set, allowing the user to quickly see which questions belong to this quality-assured standard. The aim is to improve the visibility of these questions and increase their reuse in surveys.

Pilot work has also been undertaken on matching questions to standardised survey instruments another development that we believe is novel among question banks.

So far, questions from the Activity of Daily Living schedule (ADLs), the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT), the CAGE Assessment (Alcohol Abuse) (CAGE), the CASP-19 Quality of Life Measure (CASP-19), the Edinburgh Claudication Questionnaire (ECQ) and the EQ-5D Health State (EQ-5D) instrument have been flagged. There are plans to integrate further major survey instruments into the search during 2013.

The Variable and question bank remains under development. During this beta phase we will be gathering feedback from as many users as we can. Please do send us any comments you may have.

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