Introduction to CLOSER: Longitudinal resources for teaching and research (Manchester) ShareThis


This workshop introduceed delegates to CLOSER’s range of longitudinal resources and highlight opportunities for life course and intergenerational research.

About the workshop

Hosted by Methods@Manchester, this workshop was aimed at researchers with some or no experience of using longitudinal data, particularly postgraduate and doctoral students, and academic researchers, particularly ECRs.

The UK is home to the world’s largest and longest-running longitudinal studies. Following the lives of generations of Britons, these rich resources have been used for decades to answer some of the most pressing questions facing our society. Inequality, social mobility, parenting, children’s outcomes, health, education, employment, ageing – the possible areas for investigation are endless.

These resources are increasing in value year on year – new survey data is collected from participants, and older data is repaired using new methods. But some of the most exciting developments are in resources for cross-study comparisons. Studies in the CLOSER consortium are leading efforts to harmonise data across studies, link survey responses to administrative records, and – crucially – enhance the discoverability of metadata through a new search platform.

This workshop introduced delegates to a range of longitudinal resources and highlighted opportunities for life course and intergenerational research. Participants learnt what the datasets cover, how they’ve been used, and what research resources are available.

The session covered:

  • About longitudinal studies: what they are, longitudinal vs cross-sectional, types of longitudinal studies in the UK, how they work and what they can show us, and advantages and disadvantages
  • Overview of findings: examples of longitudinal research and its impact (this section can be tailored to the interests of your students)
  • Accessing the data: how to find variables and apply to use the data for your own research (includes a demonstration of CLOSER Discovery, an innovative new search engine for longitudinal data discovery –
  • Other resources and sources of help: the CLOSER Learning Hub (, an introductory online resource for quantitative students and teachers interested in longitudinal studies; resources to assist with data harmonisation and data linkage.

Confirmed speaker: Alison Park (Director of CLOSER)


If you have any queries or require further information, please contact Jennie Blows (


  • Professor Alison Park photo

    Professor Alison Park,

    Director, CLOSER

    As Director of the CLOSER programme (Cohort & Longitudinal Studies Enhancement Resources) I am responsible for making sure that it maximises the use, value and impact of the UK's longitudinal studies.

    My wider research and teaching focuses on social and political attitudes and behaviour and how these are changing over time, and on survey research methods more generally. Prior to joining UCL Institute of Education, I worked at NatCen Social Research where I designed, resourced and carried out commission and grant-funded social research, with a particular focus on survey research.