New cognitive content added to CLOSER’s cross-study data guide

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Young boy learning how to writeA new interactive overview of the within- and between-study coverage of cognitive constructs across five British birth cohorts has been added to CLOSER’s cognitive measures cross-study data guide.

This new section of the resource offers researchers novel support for identifying and evaluating comparability in measures of cognition collected by the following key UK longitudinal studies featured in the guide:

  • MRC 1946 National Survey of Health and Development
  • 1958 National Child Development Study
  • 1970 British Cohort Study
  • Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children
  • Millennium Cohort Study

Launched in September 2020, CLOSER’s cognitive measures cross-study data guide allows users to explore 180 measures used to assess diverse aspects of cognition collected in these five longitudinal studies.

In this first expansion to the guide, a series of searchable tables have been added which provide insights into the similarity and overlap between measures.  The new content has been created using the Cattell-Horn-Carroll model of cognitive ability as the basis for flagging where different measures tap into potentially similar broadly-defined cognitive abilities.

By documenting and comparing the cognitive constructs measured within these longitudinal studies, this new content will help researchers in establishing the availability of comparable cognitive assessments for conducting longitudinal and cross-study investigations. This expanded content allows researchers to explore the coverage and overlap in cognitive ability measurements by both cohort study and respondent age.

These interactive tables are taken from a report, published today, which explores the feasibility of retrospectively harmonising the cognitive measures in the five cohort studies featured in this resource.

The report covers the approach the authors took in attempting to retrospectively harmonise measures of cognitive abilities that were administered to study participants. The report provides important guidance on the learning achieved through this work regarding the challenges and potential of such harmonisation. The report will aid other researchers to further explore and evaluate longitudinal and cross-study comparative possibilities.

Dr Eoin McElroy, co-author of the report, states: “The aim of this report is to encourage and facilitate good measurement practices when conducting longitudinal and cross-cohort research using these fantastic studies.”

Both the report and the online cross-study data guide were produced as part of a CLOSER project which aims to help researchers more accurately explore the links between cognitive ability, social background and education. The project is led by Dr Vanessa Moulton (Centre for Longitudinal Studies, UCL) with support from Dr Eoin McElroy (Lecturer in Psychology, University of Leicester).

Explore the cognitive measures cross-study data guide

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