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Understanding Society: The UK Longitudinal Household Survey

Project Director (from 1 July 2015): Professor Michaela Benzeval, Institute for Social and Economic Research, University of Essex
Former Project Director (until 1 July 2015): Professor Nick Buck, Institute for Social and Economic Research, University of Essex


Understanding Society is a household panel survey which follows individuals over time.  The sample consists of all members of the original sampled households, plus people who join with them, and it will collect survey data annually from each sample individual.  It aims to create a core research resource which permits the use of advance quantitative research methods to address key questions which are of central relevance to UK society in ways that are impossible with other types of data.

The study provides information on change at the individual level and how it relates to household change. It addresses key research and policy issues, such as changing health-related behaviours or emerging diversity in UK society. The study has been running since 2008 and has completed the collection of four waves of data over the next five years it aims to extend substantially the number and range of researchers using the data, strengthen its use in cross national research and ensure it continues to collect measures which will contribute to research newly emerging scientific issues.

Michaela Benzeval and Nick Buck, Understanding societyBritish Academy Review, 26 (Summer 2015)