Introduction to CLOSER: Longitudinal resources for teaching and research ShareThis


The aim of this workshop was to introduce longitudinal studies and the value they can add to government activity, and to explore CLOSER's resources that can support users of longitudinal data.

Session 1: Longitudinal studies and how they can add value to the policy process.

Longitudinal studies track the same people throughout their lives, helping us understand how life is changing across generations and how earlier events and circumstances affect later outcomes.

This event showcased:

  • 4 influential UK-wide longitudinal studies – The 1958 National Child Development Study, The 1970 Birth Cohort Study, The Millennium Cohort Study and Next Steps (formerly known as the Longitudinal Study of Young People in England); in addition to
  • Understanding Society − The UK Household Longitudinal Study; and
  • 2 Scotland specific studies – Growing Up in Scotland and the census-based Scottish Longitudinal Study

Leading experts in these studies spok about the key insights gained from longitudinal research, and how this knowledge has influenced policy and practice.

The seminar was chaired by Scotland’s Chief Statistician and includes a discussion of how longitudinal evidence can help address key policy challenges in Scotland.


Session 2: Longitudinal studies and making the most of them

Longitudinal studies track the same people throughout their lives, helping us understand the dynamics of individual behaviour and the influence of earlier events and circumstances on later outcomes.

This event was aimed at analysts seeking to make greater use of longitudinal evidence in supporting the policy process.  Researchers from the ESRC and MRC-funded programme CLOSER (Cohort & Longitudinal Studies Enhancement Resources) demonstrated the range of resources available through the programme to support users of longitudinal research.  CLOSER brings together eight UK biomedical and social longitudinal studies, tracking the lives of people born as early as the 1930s to the present day.


  • 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.