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UK-Australia Network Promoting Longitudinal Survey Methods and Analysis

This research project has been completed. Please contact a team member for further information.

UK-Australia Network Promoting Longitudinal Survey Methods and Analysis

This project was set up to create an international partnership between ISER and the Universities of Melbourne and Queensland in Australia.

Funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, the purpose of the network was to build and exchange knowledge on the links in key policy areas between panel survey methods and substantive analysis.


In common with the ESRC investment in strategic priorities in the UK, Australia has over the last decade significantly increased investments in several large-scale longitudinal studies, including various birth cohort studies and a household panel survey. These studies have broadly comparable designs to studies conducted in the UK including the Millennium Cohort Study and the British Household Panel Survey, now integrated into Understanding Society.

The Australian studies are considered to be of high quality, but are not as widely used by the international academic and policy community as they could be, while at the same time there is a growing collection of researchers using longitudinal methods in Australia.

The UK-Australia Network aimed to foster links between the UK and Australia to promote opportunities for comparative research.

What the network did

An important focus of the network was to look at how the design of panel surveys affects the stability of substantive longitudinal estimates, particularly in key policy areas such as employment, health, well-being, poverty and family dynamics. Previously, there had been very little research looking specifically at the causes of longitudinal inconsistencies and, most importantly, their substantive effects.

The network has provided opportunities to forge long-term relationships with Australian colleagues, to exchange ideas and to promote research on these topics. A number of visits of Australian researchers to come to ISER, and ISER researchers to go to Australia were funded as part of this network. Together they have presented data from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia Survey and the British Household Panel Survey, addressing the questions of whether and under what conditions the reliability of core employment measures change over time (presentation at the Understanding Society Research Conference, July 2013) as well as producing a working paper on the impact of measurement error on wage decompositions (see publications tab). Presentations by network members were also given at the 2015 European Survey Research Association conference in Reykjavik and the Life Course Centre conference in Brisbane.

A major output was the collaboration on a successful bid for funding (AUD $28 million over 7 years) for a new ARC Centre of Excellence for Children and Families over the Life Course. The Director of the new centre was a Co-Investigator on this project (Professor Janeen Baxter), and other partners are Co-Investigators. Professor Heather Laurie MBE, from ISER University of Essex, is a Principal Investigator of the new Centre.

Team members

Professor Janeen Baxter

Australian Research Council Professorial Fellow Sociology - The University of Queensland

Dr Jonathan Burton

Associate Director, Surveys - ISER - University of Essex

Associate Professor Michele Haynes

Associate Professor in Social Statistics - The University of Queensland

Dr S.C. Noag Uhrig

Senior Research Fellow - ISER

Nicole Watson

HILDA Deputy Director, Survey Methodology - The University of Melbourne

Professor Mark Wooden

Professorial Research Fellow and Director, HILDA Survey - The University of Melboure

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Photo credit: Understanding Society