Understanding Society - Major studies
Social attitudes and behaviour - Society and culture
|Understanding Society, or the United Kingdom Household Longitudinal Study (UKHLS), is conducted by the Institute for Social and Economic Research (ISER), at the University of Essex. The survey research organisation is NatCen Social Research (formerly the National Centre for Social Research), and in Northern Ireland, the Central Survey Unit of the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA).
As a multi-topic household survey, the purpose of Understanding Society is to understand social and economic change in Britain at the household and individual levels. It is anticipated that over time the study will permit examination of short- and long-term effects of social and economic change, including policy interventions, on the general well-being of the UK population. The study has a strong emphasis on domains of family and social ties, work, financial resources, and health. Further information about the survey may be found in the documentation, and on the Understanding Society web site.
The study is an annual survey of each adult member of a nationally representative sample. The same individuals are re-interviewed in each wave. If individuals leave their household, all adult members of their new household are interviewed. Each wave is collected over 24 months. Data collection takes place using computer assisted personal interviewing (CAPI). One person completes the household questionnaire. Each person aged 16 or older answers the individual adult interview and self-completion questionnaire. Young people aged 10 to 15 years are asked to respond to a paper self-completion questionnaire.
The study has four sample components: the General Population component, the Innovation Panel, a boost sample of ethnic minority group members, and participants in the former British Household Panel Survey (BHPS) (held at the UK Data Archive under SN 5151). Waves 1-2 (SN 6614) include the General Population component and the ethnic minority boost sample. The Innovation Panel data are held separately under SN 6849. Former participants of the BHPS joined Understanding Society from Wave 2. BHPS sample members have an identifier within the Understanding Society datasets from Wave 2 onwards, allowing the matching of BHPS data to Understanding Society.
For full details of the study methodology, sampling, changes over time, and a complete set of documentation, see the main Understanding Society study, held at the Archive under SN 6614.
The Understanding Society: Innovation Panel is a separate sample component, designed to support methodological research related to the longitudinal surveys. One of the key features of the Innovation Panel is its incorporation of experimental studies in which households are randomly assigned to different survey procedures and/or instruments. The studies are described in Burton et al. (2008, 2010, 2011). The design, content and data collection procedures are similar to the main stage Understanding Society study (held at the UK Data Archive under SN 6614).
As with other components of Understanding Society, the Innovation Panel is an annual survey of each adult member of a nationally representative sample (restricted to Great Britain). The same individuals are re-interviewed in each wave. If individuals leave their households, all adult members of their new household are interviewed. Further information is available on the Innovation Panel webpage.
The Understanding Society: Innovation Panel: Special Licence Access, Census Area Statistics Wards dataset contains Census Area Statistics Ward (CASWARD) geographic variables for each wave of Understanding Society: Innovation Panel to date, and a household identification serial number for file matching to the main Understanding Society: Innovation Panel data. These data have more restrictive access conditions than those available under the standard End User Licence (see 'Access' section below). Those users who wish to make an application for these data should contact the HelpDesk for further details.
For the third edition (August 2013), data for Wave 5 were added to the study. The documentation remains unchanged.
Variables include household identification number and CASWARD codes for matching with each wave of Understanding Society: Innovation Panel to date.
By principal investigator(s):
Understanding Society has its own Methodological Working Paper Series and Findings Series, both of which are freely available.
Booker, C. and Sacker, A. (2011) 'Limiting long-term illness and subjective well-being in families', Longitudinal and Life Course Studies, 3(1), pp.41-65.
Demey, D., Berrington, A., Evandrou, M. and Falkingham, J. (2011) 'The changing demography of mid-life, from the 1980s to the 2000s', Population Trends, 145 (Autumn), pp.16-34. Retrieved October 19th, 2011 from http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/population-trends-rd/population-trends/no--145--autumn-2011/ard-pt145-changing-demography.pdf
Demey, D., Berrington, A., Evandrou, M., Falkingham, J. and McGowan, T. (2011) How has mid-life changed in Britain since the 1980s?, CPC Briefing Paper No. 2. Retrieved October 19th, 2011 from http://www.cpc.ac.uk/resources/downloads/Mid_Life_in_Britain_briefing2.pdf
Ferragina, E., Tomlinson, M. and Walker, R. (2011) 'Determinants of participation in the United Kingdom: a preliminary analysis', Understanding Society .
Knies, G. (2011) 'Life satisfaction and material well-being of young people in the UK', Understanding Society .
Knies, G., Burton, J. and Sala, E. (2012) 'Consenting to health record linkage: evidence from a multi-purpose longitudinal survey of a general population', BMC Health Services Research, 12(1), p.52.
McAloney, K. (2012) 'Inter-faith relationships in Great Britain: prevalence and implications for psychological well-being', Mental Health, Religion and Culture, (online), DOI:10.1080/13674676.2012.714359
Berrington, A., Stone, J. and Falkingham, J. (2013) The impact of parental characteristics and contextual effects on returns to the parental home in Britain, CPC Working Paper 29.
Crawford, C., Dearden, L. and Greaves, E. (2013) When you are born matters: evidence for England, IFS Reports, R80, London: Institute for Fiscal Studies. doi: 10.1920/re.ifs.2013.0080. Retrieved August 19, 2013 from http://www.ifs.org.uk/comms/r80.pdf
Crawford, C., Dearden, L. and Greaves, E. (2013) The impact of age within academic year on adult outcomes, IFS Working Papers, W13/07, May. London: Institute for Fiscal Studies. doi: 10.1920/wp.ifs.2013.1307. Retrieved August 19, 2013 from http://www.ifs.org.uk/wps/wp201307.pdf
Demey, D., Berrington, A., Evandrou, M. and Falkingham, J. (2013) 'Pathways into living alone in mid-life: diversity and policy implications', Advances in Life Course Research, 18(3), pp.161-174. doi:10.1016/j.alcr.2013.02.001
McAloney, K. (2013) 'Mixed' religion relationships and well-being in Northern Ireland', Journal of Religion and Health, pp.1-10.
McFall, S. L. and Buck, N. (2013) 'Understanding Society – the UK Household Longitudinal Survey: a resource for demographers', in Applied Demography and Public Health, Springer Netherlands, pp.357-369.
Tippett, N., Wolke, D. and Platt, L. (2013) 'Ethnicity and bullying involvement in a national UK youth sample' Journal of Adolescence, 36(4), pp.639-649.