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Longitudinal studies involve repeated observations of the same subjects, allowing researchers to analyse change at the individual level.
The UK is home to several key longitudinal studies, including major panel and internationally-renowned cohort studies.
The 1970 British Cohort Study (BCS70) follows the lives of more than 17,000 people born in England, Scotland and Wales in a single week of 1970. Over the course of cohort members' lives, the BCS70 has has broadened from a strictly medical focus at birth to collect information on health, physical, educational and social development, and economic circumstances among other factors.
The Cohort and Longitudinal Studies Enhancement Resources (CLOSER) project aims to maximise the use, value and impact of longitudinal research. Resources available from CLOSER include harmonised datasets (developed to facilitate cross-study comparisons) and CLOSER Discovery (a search engine that enables researchers to search and browse questionnaires and data from different longitudinal studies).
The English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA) study is a longitudinal survey of ageing and quality of life among older people. It explores the dynamic relationships between health and functioning, social networks and participation, and economic position as people plan for, move into and progress beyond retirement.
The National Child Development Study (NCDS) is a continuing longitudinal study that seeks to follow the lives of all those living in Great Britain who were born in one particular week in 1958. Conducted by the Centre for Longitudinal Studies (CLS), the aim of the study is to improve understanding of the factors affecting human development over the whole lifespan.
Our Future (formerly the Longitudinal Study of Young People in England (LSYPE2)), is a major longitudinal study of young people that began in 2013. It aims to track a sample of over 13,000 young people from the age of 13/14 annually through to the age of 20 (seven waves).