Cognitive testing of Understanding Society: the UK household longitudinal study questionnaire

Publication type

Understanding Society Working Paper Series

Series Number



Understanding Society Working Paper Series


Publication date

December 1, 2008


Understanding Society is a new survey of 40,000 UK households, comprising approximately 100,000 individuals . It will be the largest household panel survey in the world, thus an important instrument for social and economic research, and it is expected to follow up and interview the members of the original households (and their newly formed households, if applicable) annually for at least 20 years. The study is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and will be led by the Institute for Social and Economic Research (ISER) at the University of Essex, together with colleagues from the University of Warwick and the Institute of Education. The National Centre for Social Research (NatCen) will conduct the fieldwork for the first two waves of fieldwork. Understanding Society has been designed to provide valuable new evidence about the UK population including their lives, experiences, behaviours and beliefs, and will enable an unprecedented understanding of diversity within the population. The survey will assist with understanding the long term effects of social and economic change, as well as policy interventions designed to impact upon the general wellbeing of the UK population. Wave one of the survey will take place between January 2009 and December 2010 (24 months) and will be a face-to-face survey, conducted with all members, aged 10 and above, of each sampled household. Some of the subsequent waves of the survey will be carried out over the telephone. Understanding Society will include an ethnic minority boost sample of over 3,000 households and will address issues specifically relevant to ethnic minority groups such as migration history, parental and grandparental country of birth and national identity. The Questionnaire Development and Testing (QDT) Hub was asked to take the lead on the testing of parts of the questionnaire, including questions which will be asked of people from a variety of ethnic backgrounds and other questions on a range of topics including household consumption, benefits and life satisfaction



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