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Understanding Society - Wave 11 data released

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With the release of Wave 11, Understanding Society now covers the period from 2009 to 2020. The dataset also includes the harmonised BHPS data from 1991.

Alongside the regular content, Wave 11 contains a set of new modules, introduced for the first time. These include questions on:

  • COVID-19
  • Food bank use
  • The gig economy
  • Employer or workplace address
  • Device use and online activity
  • Broad discrimination
  • Political behaviour, added to capture responses to the 2019 European Elections and General Election

Wave 11 also includes modules that are carried every two waves and were last included in Wave 9. These include modules on:

  • Family networks
  • Parents and children
  • Partner relationships
  • Child maintenance
  • Nutrition
  • Physical activity and exercise
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Social care
  • Harassment

In the self-completion section of the survey rotating content included asking respondents about partner relationships, alcohol consumption, identity, loneliness, voting behaviour, social support.

The data from Wave 11 also covers the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Questionnaire content for Wave 11 changed midway through the fieldwork period in response to the COVID outbreak and new questions were added to the main survey, to complement the data being collected in the new COVID-19 survey. Wave 11 youth questionnaire

The youth questionnaire for Wave 11 included:

  • Rotating content on family support
  • Relationships and behaviour
  • Health related questions on disability, nutrition, obesity, exercise, smoking and alcohol
  • Education and savings

What impact did COVID-19 have on Wave 11?

In mid-March 2020 face-to-face interviewing was suspended due to the first lockdown of the pandemic period. Adult participants who usually complete their interview face-to-face were offered an online or telephone interview instead. From April 2020, all adult participants were moved to an online questionnaire, with a telephone interview as a follow-up for those who couldn’t complete their interview online. New questions, or questions that had changed, went into the field in July 2020. These included a new COVID-19 module asking about Coronavirus symptoms, testing, results, whether hospitalised, shielding and long-term health conditions. The self-employment core module asked a set of new questions about the HM Revenue and Customs Self-Employment Income Support Scheme grant (SEISS). To capture furlough status an additional response option was added to some existing employment variables and furlough payments were included in derived variables for total earnings and income. Questions about food bank usage, originally intended for Wave 12, were brought forward and added midway through Wave 11.