In this section, you will find frequently asked questions (FAQs) about:
- Beta testing
- What’s included in CLOSER Discovery and what’s not
- Searching by topic
- How to access study data
What do you mean by beta testing?
The beta version seems to work pretty well. Can I start using it for my research?
What features and functions will be added in the future?
- Biosample documentation
- Documentation of commonly used scales e.g. Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire
- Variable correspondence (is a similar variable available in the same or different study)
- The ability to look at the way a selected group of similar variables have changed over time
- Documentation of derived variables (but not the methodology of derivation)
How can I give feedback?
We welcome your feedback! You can provide this in a number of ways:
- Complete our online questionnaire
- Email us at email@example.com
- Attend a CLOSER Discovery webinar and join in the discussion at the end
- Join the CLOSER Discovery Linkedin group to discuss the platform with fellow users
Feel free to use any of these, and please do give feedback as soon as you find something you want to say. You can provide feedback as many times as you like.
I found a spelling mistake or error in a variable label. Shall I report that as well?
CLOSER Discovery documents these, but they remain firmly under the control of the studies. The CLOSER team does not have the expertise to give you a robust answer on variable lables. If you do send this feedback to us, we will direct you to the study contact best able to help you.
What if I find something that isn’t working?
If you find an error, or notice something doesn’t seem to be working quite right, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. There are all sorts of reasons why an error might not have been caught before by someone else. For instance, it could only appear with specific browsers or operating systems, or it could only appear after a certain sequence of actions. For that reason, please try to give us as much detail as possible. Try to include:
- A description or screen shot of the bug
- What you were doing before you found the bug
- What operating system and browser you are using (please include versions, for example Internet Explorer 9)
What happens to my feedback?
We will read and listen to every piece of feedback we are sent. All feedback is logged and then assessed against the following before being given a priority rating:
- Is this something within our capacity?
- How many people have pointed out the same issue?
- How long will this change take to implement?
Certain things might take some time to implement. Even items we rate as the highest priority might take time to change. Send us all your ideas, even if you think they are totally unachievable! There are also lots of clever features behind the portal that you will not see as a user which might mean something that seems very difficult is actually easy to change. If we are unable to act on your idea within our current funding, they could be added to future projects or bids. We will keep a record of every suggestion we receive. We won’t be able to personally answer every piece of feedback. If you want to know what changes are being made and see if your ideas have made it in, please sign up to the CLOSER Discovery mailing list. This will alert you to new content and functionality as it is published.
Which studies are included in CLOSER Discovery?
The eight studies included in CLOSER Discovery are listed below, but there is not complete information on each study in the beta test version. We will be adding the remaining content throughout the beta testing period. For an up-to-date list of what data collection instruments from each study are currently covered by CLOSER Discovery, please visit our Technical Wiki.
- Hertfordshire Cohort Study
- MRC National Survey of Health and Development (1946 British birth cohort)
- National Child Development Study (1958 British birth cohort)
- 1970 British Cohort Study
- Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children
- Southampton Women’s Survey
- Millennium Cohort Study
- Understanding Society: The UK Household Longitudinal Study
Why doesn’t CLOSER Discovery hold study data?
Data access arrangements are managed by the individual studies or the UK Data Service. There are two main reasons why CLOSER Discovery does not hold study data:
- Protecting study members’ privacy: Data protection and licencing remain the responsibility of the individual studies or the UK Data Service, ensuring study members’ identities are kept anonymous. See How to access the data for more information.
- Consent from study members: The availability of longitudinal data is only possible with the consent of the generous study members. Consent arrangements vary from study to study, and in some cases this prevents us from making data available via a tool such as CLOSER Discovery.
Does CLOSER discovery include information on administrative records that have been linked to the studies?
What does CLOSER Discovery offer that isn’t already provided by the UK Data Service?
The data sets accessible via UK Data Service are large and important resources for research. There are three key features that CLOSER Discovery can help with when working with these, listed below.
- Descriptions on the UK Data Service are limited to 80 characters. By enabling searches on the full question text and filtering by topic, you are far more likely to find items that could be useful to you.
- The character limit on descriptions also restricts the context of the variable as it appears in the data set. Knowing that a question described “Have they moved?” in the UK Data Service data set is actually “Have they moved in the last 5 years?” could make a significant difference. CLOSER Discovery will give you that level of detail.
- Before CLOSER Discovery, the only way to determine if a variable provided enough statistical ‘power’ for your research was to carry out an analysis. CLOSER Discovery will allow you to preview summary statistics on the variables before you begin work.
Please note that CLOSER Discovery is still in beta. Topics are a particularly challenging part of the process of documenting historical questionnaires. It is an area we would particularly like feedback on.
What topics does CLOSER Discovery use?
How many topics are linked to each question/variable?
Why can’t I find the topic I’m looking for?
Why is an item tagged with one topic and not another?
We also had to ensure that there were no conflicts between the topics applied to linked variables and questions. This is being achieved at scale by applying a single topic to each item only. To do this, a bespoke piece of software has been built from the ground up.
There are also several ways of applying topics. A topic could be derived from the wording of the question, but this might differ from the intended research purpose of the question. This is further complicated by the fact that this is an historical project and the exact meaning of the question from either point of view may have changed over time.
We welcome feedback about the topic system and how it has been applied. It is one of the most challenging aspects of the project and understanding better how the users might interact with these is very important. Please visit our feedback pages for ways to contact us.
How can I access data from the studies?
|Data available via the UK Data Service||Data available by contacting the studies directly|
|1958 National Child Development Study||Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children|
|1970 British Cohort Study||Hertfordshire Cohort Study|
|Millennium Cohort Study||MRC National Survey of Health and Development|
|Understanding Society||Southampton Women’s Survey|
Why can’t I download study data from CLOSER Discovery?
Where can I find information on how variables were derived?
Are any of the variables weighted?
What is metadata?
Why do researchers need metadata?
Can I use the metadata available on CLOSER discovery?
Please be aware that CLOSER discovery is currently in beta and the content is incomplete. Use of the metadata should therefore be supplemented with other methods of identifying data.
What metadata standards are being used?
Why use a metadata standard?
For more information about metadata standards, please see the CLOSER Technical Wiki.