Video available: Overview of CLOSER Discovery – how to search and explore the content of UK longitudinal studies ShareThis


Watch our online tour of CLOSER Discovery - the UK’s most detailed search engine for longitudinal data.

About the session

CLOSER Discovery is the UK’s most detailed search engine for longitudinal data. This free-to-use resource allows you to explore the content of multiple UK longitudinal studies at the click of a button.

Join CLOSER Senior Metadata Officer, Dr Hayley Mills for this online tour of the search platform and discover how you can browse and search questionnaires and data from the UK’s leading longitudinal studies. Each search carried out on Discovery provides a summary of the data available as well as how they were collected (including questions and questionnaire design).

This webinar will provide a full demonstration of CLOSER Discovery showcasing key features of the tool including, how to:

  • Search by keyword and browse by study
  • Filter search results by study, topic and life stage
  • Create quick lists of related variables via the ‘clickable lists’ function

This webinar was part of the 2020 Society for Social Medicine & Population Health conference.

Question and answers from the CLOSER Discovery online tour

1. Is Discovery free to access? 

Yes. You can use CLOSER Discovery without cost and without registering. If you would like to ensure your lists are saved and accessible then a user account is beneficial.

2. Are lists downloadable in any format other than PDF?

Yes. You can also download your list as DDI 3.2 XML which is the metadata standard we use. In the next update to CLOSER Discovery you will also be able to download your list in CSV and Excel format. These are more streamlined formats, which may be more useful for requesting data.

3. What other studies are being added?- Will there be international studies? 

There are five new studies which will be added to CLOSER Discovery, which are all UK based. The first addition is the Wirral Child Health and Development study in which some content has already been added. In addition, Next Steps (LSYPE 1), the Office for National Statistics Longitudinal Study (ONS LS), Health and Aging after Fifty (HEAF), Generation Scotland and Whitehall II will be added. Furthermore, CLOSER will be adding more studies which will be announced soon.

4. Are the datasets included in Discovery also part of other platforms, e.g. UK Data Service (UKDS) and Dementia Platform UK (DPUK), and if so, what is the advantage of using Discovery over the other UK platforms to find datasets and request access to them from the researchers?

All the ESRC funded studies are also included in the UKDS platform; you can use their catalogue and NESSTAR to search and find data.

In terms of CLOSER Discovery, if the data are included in UKDA then we will provide a link to UKDA DOI. There are CLOSER studies which are included in the DPUK, but as far as we are aware this platform will help you to find which studies would be useful, rather than searching at a variable level. Compared to other platforms CLOSER Discovery includes additional context around the data, as it also includes separate question text as well as the questionnaire, which are also searchable.