BSA conference: Learn more about CLOSER and our research resources

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Thank you for visiting the CLOSER website from our booth at the British Sociological Association conference.

CLOSER, the home of longitudinal research, brings together world-leading longitudinal studies to maximise their use, value and impact and improve our understanding of key social and biomedical challenges.

Use the links below to learn more about our resources for researchers, students, and policy makers:


CLOSER Learning Hub

The CLOSER Learning Hub is an online educational resource designed to introduce longitudinal population studies to beginners including students, early career researchers, and policymakers.

The Hub also features teaching datasets and introductory exercises, and a number of detailed research case studies exploring how longitudinal population studies can be used to investigate topics such as obesity, social mobility, and childhood bullying.

Users can work through learning modules covering the basics of longitudinal population studies, study design, analysis techniques, data harmonisation, understanding metadata, and research communications.

We’ve also created two series of short, explainer animations to help users understand longitudinal population studies and the different analysis techniques needed to answer different longitudinal research questions.

Longitudinal studies: an overview

Watch the animations below and learn about the basics of longitudinal research including the different types of longitudinal studies, data collection tools, sampling, and using longitudinal data for research.

Introduction to analysing longitudinal data

Watch the animations below and learn about different statistical methods and methodological approaches to analysing longitudinal data, including regression analysis, multi-level and growth curve modelling, and survival analysis.

Explore the CLOSER Learning Hub


CLOSER Discovery

CLOSER Discovery homepageCLOSER Discovery – the UK’s most detailed search engine for longitudinal data – allows users to search and explore content from multiple leading UK longitudinal population studies.

The search platform features metadata from 10 UK longitudinal population studies and includes:

  • 300+ questionnaires
  • 400+ datasets
  • 45,000+ questions
  • 159,000+ variables (including 9,000+ COVID-19 related variables)

CLOSER Discovery enables researchers to search through rich metadata, filtering by study, topic and life stage, to see which variables meet their research requirements. As well as variable metadata, the resource shows how the data were collected through questions and questionnaires. In addition, all questions and variables are tagged to a common set of topics, making it easy to explore an area of interest.

Learn how to use search and explore CLOSER Discovery

Watch the demo video below to see how to search CLOSER Discovery by keyword

Watch the video below to learn how to explore by topic in CLOSER Discovery

Explore CLOSER Discovery


Harmonising longitudinal data

Magnifying glass on a line graphAcross the decades, longitudinal population studies have defined and measured variables in different ways, making it difficult to combine data from different studies and establish a picture of how society is changing over time.

CLOSER has funded research to make the data collected by longitudinal studies more alike − a process known as “harmonisation”. We are harmonising data from a variety of our partner studies across a wide range of topics. This enables researchers like you to make comparisons both within and across longitudinal studies, and will offer new insights into how important social and biomedical characteristics of the population are changing over time.

Harmonised datasets

CLOSER researchers are harmonising a diverse range of measures collected by longitudinal population studies in the UK. The following harmonised datasets are available for researchers to download from the UK Data Service:

Cross-study data guides

CLOSER has produced a series of easily searchable cross-study data guides to help researchers explore and compare the available measures on different research themes both within and across studies.

  • Cognitive measures data: Discover the measures used to assess diverse aspects of cognition within and across five British birth cohort studies
  • Dietary data: Learn about the dietary data and estimated nutrition intake information available within and across eight CLOSER partner studies
  • Physical activity data: Explore the measures used to assess diverse aspects of physical activity within and across six CLOSER partner studies

Learn more about our data harmonisation projects


COVID-19 Longitudinal Research Hub

The UK’s longitudinal population studies adapted rapidly in response to COVID-19 by developing and launching special questionnaires for their participants to help understand the health, social, economic and behavioural impacts of the pandemic at both a national and regional level and across all generations and ages.

Containing all the new surveys, data releases, latest research and evidence and expert opinion in one place, the COVID-19 Longitudinal Research Hub is a one-stop resource for researchers, parliamentarians and policy makers, now and in the future. The Hub features the following sections:

Explore the COVID-19 Longitudinal Research Hub