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Latest videos – CLOSER Seminars: Capturing contemporary family diversity in longitudinal datasets

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This seminar combined presentations of findings from two complementary research projects, which aim to improve our data and knowledge about diverse families.


Rebecca Goldman is a Research Associate at the Fatherhood Institute, and an independent research consultant specialising in evidence review to inform policy and practice. She authored a widely cited book on fathers’ involvement in children’s education. Research areas are children and families, education, health and social care.

Her presentation looked at the project, Contemporary Fathers in the UK: what do we know? what do we need to know? which has assessed evidence on UK fathers, including an extensive literature review. Rebecca spoke about the datasets review (Where’s the Daddy?), which investigated how sixteen UK large-scale longitudinal and repeated cross-sectional quantitative datasets (including birth cohort studies) identify and collect data about fathers in varied forms of co-residence and relationships (birth, adoptive, foster and step) with their children.

Caroline Bryson is a partner of Bryson Purdon Social Research LLP, a research partnership specialising in policy and programme evaluation. Much of her research focuses on parenting in separating and separated families, particularly issues related to child maintenance and co-parenting support.

This presentation looked at the project, Understanding the lives of separating and separated families in the UK: what evidence do we need? Caroline assessed how far the UK’s existing survey, administrative and other research data on separated families are – and currently are not – able to provide the range of evidence needs articulated by researchers, policy makers and practitioners. The demand for data on families’ experiences, trajectories and outcomes points to the need for longitudinal data which tracks families over time. This seminar explored the strengths and shortcomings of the existing longitudinal data in the UK and opened up discussion about how they can be bolstered.

While these projects were funded by the Nuffield Foundation, the views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the Foundation.


Where’s the daddy? Fathers and father figures in UK datasets – Rebecca Goldman

To read the full report on British fathers, please visit the Fatherhood Institute website.

Understanding modern families: How can we improve the data infrastructure? – Caroline Bryson

To read the full report on separating and separated families, please visit the Nuffield Foundation website.