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Closer - The home of longitudinal research

SLLS 2022: Learn more about CLOSER and our resources for researchers

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CLOSER, the home of longitudinal research, is the interdisciplinary partnership of leading social and biomedical longitudinal population studies, the UK Data Service and The British Library.

Our mission is to increase the visibility, use and impact of longitudinal population studies, data and research. We are funded by the UKRI Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and based in the UCL Social Research Institute.

Find our more about our free, online resources for researchers:

CLOSER Discovery

CLOSER Discovery homepageCLOSER Discovery – search, explore and assess content from multiple UK longitudinal population studies.

Our Discovery platform contains metadata from 11 UK longitudinal population studies and includes:

  • 300+ questionnaires
  • 400+ datasets
  • 49,000+ questions
  • 190,000+ variables (including 18,000+ COVID-19 related variables)

CLOSER Discovery enables researchers to search through rich metadata, filtering by study, topic and life stage, to see which variables meet their research requirements. As well as variable metadata, Discovery shows how the data were collected through questions and questionnaires. In addition, all questions and variables are tagged to a common set of topics, making it easy to explore an area of interest.

Learn how to search and explore CLOSER Discovery

We’ve produced demo videos to help you get started using Discovery to search and explore longitudinal study metadata.

Follow the links below to watch on our YouTube channel:

Explore CLOSER Discovery

Cross-study data guides

Icons of a brain made of cogs to symbolise cognition, a plate with cutlery to symbolise diet and various individuals doing exercise to show physical activity

Our cross-study data guides help researchers explore and compare the available measures on different research themes both within and across longitudinal population studies.

  • Cognitive measures data: Discover the measures used to assess diverse aspects of cognition within and across five British birth cohort studies
  • Dietary data: Learn about the dietary data and estimated nutrition intake information available within and across eight CLOSER partner studies
  • Physical activity data: Explore the measures used to assess diverse aspects of physical activity within and across six CLOSER partner studies

Learn more about our cross-study data guides

Harmonised data sets

bird's eye view of people walking through an empty space. Every person is connected to another with a grey line.

Data harmonisation involves recording or modifying variables so that they are comparable across research studies. We have produced several harmonised datasets, which are available for researchers to download from the UK Data Service:

Learn more about our data harmonisation projects

CLOSER Learning Hub

Learning Hub animation still of a toddler ageing up into a child, teen, adult, and senior citizen.The CLOSER Learning Hub is our online educational resource designed to introduce longitudinal population studies to beginners. 

Users can work through learning modules covering the basics of longitudinal population studies, study design, analysis techniques, data harmonisation, understanding metadata, and communicating your research.

The Hub also features teaching datasets and introductory exercises, and detailed research case studies exploring how longitudinal population studies can be used to investigate topics such as obesity, social mobility, and childhood bullying.

Getting started

We’ve created a series of short ‘Getting started’ videos to introduce the Learning Hub and showcase how the different modules and case studies featured can support you in using longitudinal population studies as part of your own research. Watch the animations below:

Explore the CLOSER Learning Hub

COVID-19 Longitudinal Research Tracker

COVID-19 Hub animational still of the UK Houses of ParliamentThe UK’s longitudinal population studies adapted rapidly in response to COVID-19 by developing and launching special questionnaires for their participants to help understand the health, social, economic and behavioural impacts of the pandemic at both a national and regional level and across all generations and ages.

Since May 2020, we’ve been tracking COVID-19 longitudinal research and evidence from the UK and Ireland’s longitudinal population studies. Our COVID-19 Research Tracker brings together the latest briefing notes, reports, academic publications, and articles in an easy-to-use interactive tool.

Explore the COVID-19 Longitudinal Research Tracker

Our changing society

Grandparents pose for a selfie with their two young grandchildren‘Our changing society’ provides researchers with detailed information about the historical and political backdrop to the lives of study participants.  

It aims to facilitate more cross-cohort research and enable researchers to be more explicit about the circumstances and conditions that may be shaping and influencing people’s behaviours and life transitions.

Explore ‘Our changing society’

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