A recent open consultation as part of ESRC’s Longitudinal Studies Review on the future scientific and policy needs for longitudinal research received over 630 responses.

Initial analysis of the consultation responses has now been completed and will inform the review panel and participants in a workshop to be held in January 2017.

Longitudinal studies survey infographic

The consultation received 637 responses from individuals in the UK (83 per cent) and internationally (17 per cent). Most respondents are from the academic sector (80 per cent) with the remainder spread across government, civil society and business sectors. Most respondents (81 per cent) have a background in economic and social research, with medical researchers accounting for 17 per cent.

The key ongoing scientific priorities for longitudinal research highlighted by respondents were:

  • long-term effects of childhood and adult experience
  • demographic shifts and mobilities
  • health and wellbeing
  • equality and inequality
  • biosocial research and genomics
  • diversity and identity
  • ageing population.     

In addition, many sub-themes were suggested in detailed responses, reflecting a high degree of expertise and engagement among respondents.

Respondents also identified priority methodological and technological issues that longitudinal research needs to address: 

  • longitudinal study design
  • data collection
  • data handling and treatment
  • data analysis
  • data linkage
  • documentation and dissemination
  • infrastructure and capacity building

The Longitudinal Studies Review, with a panel led by Professor Pam Davis-Kean (University of Michigan), will run throughout 2017 and will report to the ESRC in early 2018.