Evidence gathering using the Centre for Longitudinal Studies scoping project

Lead Research Organisation: University College London
Department Name: Social Science


This project will provide new evidence to support the introduction of innovations in survey methods, record linkages, and measurement in the four national longitudinal studies run at the Centre for Longitudinal Studies: the Millennium Cohort Study, Next Steps, the 1970 British Cohort Study, and the 1958 National Child Development Study. It will contribute to shared learning across the longitudinal studies communities nationally and internationally. The project will also provide evidence to ESRC to support the potential commissioning of a new birth cohort study. It consists of the following sub-projects:

Millennium Cohort Study and Next Steps babies: MCS and Next Steps study members are now at important ages for fertility and child-bearing. We will explore the scientific potential of extending data collection within the MCS and Next Steps studies to cover pregnancies and births of study members and their partners, and to incorporate new babies born into the longitudinal follow-up of these studies. This will include projections for number and timing of babies to be born to members of these studies in the next 10 years and possible strategies for engaging parents-to-be during the pregnancies, births and early years of these babies. The potential for a sub-study of BCS70 and NCDS grandchildren will also be investigated.

Design options for a new 'accelerated-design' birth cohort study for the UK: In this project we will set out a number of design options for a new national birth cohort study. We will scope potential sampling frames from which representative samples of new babies could be drawn, and set out the implications for sample sizes, and local and national representativeness of the resulting samples. We will also set out options for drawing a nationally representative cohort of school-aged children. Associated power calculations for a range of hypothetical analyses will be provided.

Qualitative research: we will carry out a set of qualitative research with cohort members to test their views on potential innovations including extending the surveys to new family members (partners, babies), the implementation of web-based and other data collection modes, the use of incentives, and linkages.

We will scope the potential for extending record linkages within the CLS cohorts, including embedding cohorts into linked national populations, and novel geographic data linkages, with a particular focus on scientific value, feasibility and consent.

We will review and publish new evidence on data collection modes, and the use of incentives to encourage participant response in the CLS cohorts, and will provide a literature review on new technologies for data collection.

Calibration of measures: in order to improve opportunities for cross-cohort research we will carry out a novel web-based data collection of mental health measures, which have been previously used among adults in the CLS cohort studies. This will provide calibration measures that researchers can use in cross-cohort research, and will also inform the choice of mental health instruments in future data collections. We will pilot a similar approach to childhood cognitive tests.

MCS web-boost and design: we will undertake a web-boost survey within the current MCS age 17 sweep, and we will evaluate its impact on response. We will design an annual web-survey mailing, and incentives experiment, for future implementation in MCS and/or Next Steps.

Planned Impact



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