Survey Methodology

The ESRC UK Longitudinal Studies Centre (ULSC) has a strategic role in identifying needs for methodological research that is relevant to longitudinal surveys and to facilitate the meeting of those needs. This encompasses:

  • Methodology of study design and data collection;
  • Methodology of data management and processing
  • Longitudinal data analysis methods

To help fulfil our remit to set the agenda for methodological research, we carry out reviews and consultations and we organise and contribute to relevant conferences.

Additionally, we carry out methodological research ourselves. Our areas of interest include sample design, questionnaire design, non-response and attrition, imputation, weighting, recall and other types of measurement error, and interviewing strategies. Recent projects have addressed the topics as diverse as the effectiveness of refusal conversion strategies on a panel survey, the effect of respondent incentives on attrition bias, and the application of dependent interviewing techniques.

The Centre is also involved in the ESRC Survey Design and Measurement Initiative which aims to enhance the quality of survey research and to harness opportunities for methodological improvement. The ESRC has funded seven projects, headed by teams at ISER, the National Centre for Social Research, the London School of Economics, the Institute for Fiscal Studies, the Institute of Education and the University of Southampton.

The Centre aims to promote best practice in the collection, management, documentation, dissemination and analysis of longitudinal data. In doing so it develops standards in these areas.