Introduction to the UK’s longitudinal resources ShareThis


This workshop introduced delegates to a range of longitudinal resources and highlight opportunities for life course and intergenerational research.

About the workshop

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 meta data 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 learned 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, including CLOSER Discovery, an online search engine that allows researchers to explore the content of eight UK longitudinal studies, and the CLOSER Learning Hub, an introductory online resource for quantitative students and teachers interested in longitudinal studies.

Speaker: Meghan Rainsberry, CLOSER Communications Manager


If you require further information about this event, please contact Jennie Blows (


  • Meghan Rainsberry photo

    Meghan Rainsberry,

    Communications Manager

    Meghan Rainsberry is the Communications Manager for CLOSER and the Centre for Longitudinal Studies (CLS). She is responsible for communicating the value of the British birth cohort studies to researchers, funders, policy makers, participants and the general public. She has extensive experience in developing impact and communications strategies, policy engagement, and communicating research through press, events, websites and social media.

    Meghan is the 2015 winner of the UCL Institute of Education's Director Prize for Public Engagement. She holds an MSc in Media, Communications and Development from the London School of Economics, where she specialised in community engagement and public health.