About the Centre for Longitudinal Studies (CLS)

Today we give a brief explanation about CLS and what they do. Jacob uses data from their studies, so it would only be appropriate to explain a little more about them.


Based in the Bloomsbury area of London. The Centre for Longitudinal Studies (CLS) is an Economic and Social Research Council resource centre. It is based at the Department of Social Science, UCL Institute of Education, University of London.

The cohort studies

CLS is responsible for running four of Britain’s internationally-renowned cohort studies:

Cohort studies are a type of longitudinal research. They follow the same group of people throughout their lives, charting social change and untangling the reasons behind it. Find out more about the cohort studies and longitudinal research.

What They do

Running the cohort studies is a complex process, involving a number of different activities. To find out more about what CLS is up to, see their news and events sections.

Collecting the data

CLS regularly manages the extensive process of surveying all cohort members through a combination of face-to-face and telephone interviews, and paper and online questionnaires. The most recent surveys for the 1970 and millennium cohorts were carried out in 2012. The members of the 1958 cohort were surveyed in 2013.

When the surveys are complete, CLS cleans and documents the data, and deposits them with the UK Data Service, who make it available free-of-charge to researchers anywhere in the UK and abroad for non-commercial use.

Supporting researchers to use the data

CLS provides extensive documentation and guidance on each data set to help researchers better use the data, and runs a series of training workshops for first-time users. For more information on upcoming training opportunities, see their events page.

Sharing best practice in methodology

The experience of designing and managing the three cohort studies over many years has given them expertise in key methodological areas such as sampling, measuring social concepts over time, surveying special groups, using new technology in longitudinal surveys, and coping with attrition. CLS regularly collaborates with other survey managers to share best practice, and their survey methodology experts regularly participate in relevant national and international events. Find out more about their areas of expertise.

Conducting research

In addition to running the cohort studies, the CLS team is involved in a wide variety of research projects involving analysing longitudinal data and developing longitudinal research methodology. For more information, see CLS research.


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