Evidence gathering using the Centre for Longitudinal Studies scoping project

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

Abstract

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

N/A

Publications

10 25 50

publication icon
Gilbert E (2019) MCS Age 17 Web-boost survey

 
Description In this project we undertook methodological work to inform innovative approaches within longitudinal studies. In total, 23 reports were submitted to the funder and are summarised in the url provided below. The work undertaken included:
• New babies: there are important scientific questions on infant and child development that can be uniquely and cost-effectively answered by following babies born to current study members of MCS and Next Steps, and in sub-studies of grandchildren of BCS70 and NCDS. We set out the scientific case and made recommendations on measurement and design, and on future feasibility tests to be carried out as part of the next development phase for MCS.
• We set out options for the design of a new birth cohort study in the UK, including the choice of national sampling frame, issues around the design of an 'accelerated' dual cohort, and approaches to geographic clustering. The report included power calculations for a range of sample sizes.
• We reviewed the literature and produced new empirical work using MCS, Next Steps and NCDS on the impact of mode choice on survey participation and measurement. Although mixed-mode can be effective at boosting response rates there is evidence of mode differences on measurement which are potentially biasing unless appropriately adjusted for by analysts.
• We carried out a successful web boost survey in MCS and demonstrated that it boosted overall response to the MCS Age 17 Survey. We evaluated the potential for carrying out in-house web surveys using the Platform Qualtrix, and we successfully issued a short web-only survey in Next Steps.
• We reviewed the use of incentives for improving participation within longitudinal studies, and evaluated the use of incentives in Next Steps. Overall, the literature shows that incentives can be effective at increasing response rates in longitudinal studies, with cash and higher-value incentives being more effective.
• We undertook a series of themed literature reviews on using new and emerging technologies for data collection. We identified novel data collection options across many scientific themes, with potential issues arising needing careful investigation including cost, measurement quality, and take-up/ selectivity.
• We undertook a series of qualitative interviews with study participants to gather their views on participant engagement and using new technologies for data collection. The qualitative work suggested that there is a wide variation of views within and between studies which needs to be fully taken into account as new approaches are adopted.
• Novel geographic and administrative linkages: we undertook a detailed review of the many geographic data sources available for linkage into cohorts, and also investigated issues arising in the nesting of cohorts within population linked data, and a range of administrative linkage possibilities.
• Calibration studies: we undertook a bespoke web survey of historic adult mental health measures, and a small pilot of childhood cognition measures. The findings of these will be used to inform robust comparisons of these across studies and over time.
Exploitation Route This project provided new evidence to support the introduction of innovations in survey methods, record linkages, and measurement. It has generated learning of value to the wider community of longitudinal studies, and has provided evidence to ESRC to support the commissioning of a new birth cohort study. We have already disseminated findings through a variety of channels in addition to the project reports, including through funder-sponsored workshops, and academic conferences. Several of the 23 reports submitted to the funder are now in being published as CLS working papers (publication is imminent and we will update the RF entry as soon as these are available). Several will be submitted for publication in peer review journals. Further development work is now underway within CLS 2020-2021 to take forward the recommendations in all the methodological areas addressed, and updates on their implementation will be provided in due course.
Sectors Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Education,Healthcare,Leisure Activities, including Sports, Recreation and Tourism

URL https://cls.ucl.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Innovation_projects-2019_summaries.pdf
 
Description Feeding into to discussion about option for design on possilble new cohort study, for ESRC
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Membership of a guideline committee
 
Description Additional Funding #25 - Centre for Longitudinal Studies, Resource Centre 2015-20 - Prof. Alissa Goodman
Amount £4,491,759 (GBP)
Funding ID ES/M001660/1 
Organisation Economic and Social Research Council 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 04/2020 
End 03/2021
 
Description Bornstein/Fitzsimons 
Organisation National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Department National Institute of Child Health (NICH)
Country United States 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Led a report for ESRC on 'Studying the next generations: the case for following the offspring of MCS and Next Steps, and for studies of grandparenting'
Collaborator Contribution Provided expertise on appropriate child developmental measures and co-authored report
Impact Report (119 pages) for ESRC on 'Studying the next generations: the case for following the offspring of MCS and Next Steps, and for studies of grandparenting'
Start Year 2019
 
Description Attended workshop on public engagement with longitidinal studies 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Market research agency consulted stakeholders to developed material for a set of public dialogues on public engagement with longitudinal research
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description CLOSER conference presentation 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Presentation by Prof. Emla Fitzsimons at the CLOSER conference 'Preparing for the future II: international approaches to challenges facing the longitudinal population studies'. The presentation was part of the Data Linkage session, and was entitled 'Linking data on proximity to fast foods to the Millennium Cohort Study'.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://www.closer.ac.uk/event/preparing-future-longitudinal-conference-2020/
 
Description Conference: Large-scale surveys and technology innovation event 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact On 25 June 2019, CLS hosted its first-ever showcase of new technology for data collection, which drew about 100 attendees. The day comprised presentations and tech demonstrations, and facilitated collaboration between technologists and scientists, from both academic and commercial sectors.
The aims of the event were to:
1. Explore new technologies that could be used to collect data on individuals and their environments in future data collections of large-scale surveys. For commercial companies, this represents an opportunity to have their technology used at scale in future, in some of the most prestigious scientific studies run in the UK.
2. Develop collaborative links between academics working on large-scale studies, academics developing innovative approaches to measurement, and those working in/with new technology, including commercial companies.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://cls.ucl.ac.uk/events/surveys-and-tech-innovation/
 
Description Dialogue with a lay audience on public engagement with longitudinal research 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact 2 workshops attended with lay participants recruited by the agency Kantar and some other longitudinal data stakeholders in a structured dialogue. One session was for a full weekend day, the second, with the same people was on a weekday evening. The participants were recruited from the London area. Similar workshops held in other regions. The participants were given stimulus material to discuss about the value of longitudinal studies and the public willingness to engage in them. Particular attention was given to how a hypothetical new cohort might be recruited. Results suggest that most people would tolerate the use of administrative data in sampling a cohort study, if there were appropriate reassurances.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description ESRC Data Blog 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Summary of findings about the gender pay gap observed and analysed in the 1958 Birth cohort. Results have been used presentations by another colleague about sex equality.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL http://blog.ukdataservice.ac.uk/the-gender-pay-gap-from-the-perspective-of-people-born-in-1958/
 
Description Invitation to join ADR UK Research Commissioning Board, attending three meetings of the Board in 2019 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Professor Alissa Goodman was invited to join the ADR UK Research Commissioning Board, and attended three meetings of the Board in 2019. The Board oversees the distribution of ADRUK strategic funding for research-ready datasets and research using administrative data, according to criteria including that the work is clearly linked to the priorities of UK government departments.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Invited panel member to a session at the CLOSER: preparing for the future longitudinal conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact In January 2020, Professor Alissa Goodman spoke as an invited panel member on the plenary opening panel session at the CLOSER conference 'Preparing for the future II: international approaches to challenges facing the longitudinal population studies'. The panel each discussed some of the current challenges facing longitudinal studies, including maintaining the relevance and scientific value of longitudinal studies in the data linkage, big data era, and how we can ensure that the studies are used and funded into the future.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://www.closer.ac.uk/event/preparing-future-longitudinal-conference-2020/
 
Description Invited to join Prospective Studies Engagement Group led by ALSPAC 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Professor Alissa Goodman was personally invited to join Prospective Studies Engagement Group led by ALSPAC, which aims to promote sharing of innovative approaches to engaging participants between studies
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Participated in Population Research Resource workshop led by ESRC, MRC and Wellcome 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact In May 2019, Professor Alissa Goodman attended the Population Research Resource workshop led by ESRC, MRC and Wellcome Trust, which aimed to gather stakeholder views on future funding priorities.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Podcast - Exploring inequalities in evidence 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact In an episode of UCL Grand Challenges' podcast series, Professor Alissa Goodman was interviewed to discuss the need to use qualitative and quantitative evidence to fully develop an understanding of structural inequalities in UK society and outlining inequalities within evidence collection itself.
UCL's Grand Challenges convene and cultivate cross-disciplinary collaborations that bring researchers together, explore joined-up solutions in six areas related to matters of pressing societal concern, and set the agenda for future research while building bridges with external partners.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://soundcloud.com/uclsound/voices-from-grand-challenges-exploring-inequalities-in-evidence
 
Description Podcast: Exploring inequalities in evidence 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact In an episode of UCL Grand Challenges' podcast series, Professor Alissa Goodman was interviewed to discuss the need to use qualitative and quantitative evidence to fully develop an understanding of structural inequalities in UK society and outlining inequalities within evidence collection itself.
UCL's Grand Challenges convene and cultivate cross-disciplinary collaborations that bring researchers together, explore joined-up solutions in six areas related to matters of pressing societal concern, and set the agenda for future research while building bridges with external partners.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://soundcloud.com/uclsound/voices-from-grand-challenges-exploring-inequalities-in-evidence
 
Description Presentation to European Association of Labour Economics 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Feedback from colleagues and international networking
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Workshop to the SPF-funded projects commissioned by ESRC as a follow up to the recommendations from the Longitudinal Studies Review. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact In October 2019, Professor Alissa Goodman, Lisa Calderwood, Emily Gilbert, and Matt Brown from CLS attended a workshop to discuss learning from the SPF-funded projects commissioned by the ESRC as a follow-up to the recommendations from the Longitudinal Studies Review. In the meeting, the group discussed steps that studies will take to enact the work of the SPF-commissioned projects
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019