Working papers

Here you can search our series of working papers, dating back to 1983. These papers use data from our four cohort studies and cover a wide range of topics, from social inequalities and mobility, to physical health, education and cognitive development. Other papers in the series seek to improve the practice of longitudinal research. At the present time, we are only able to accept papers if at least one author is a member of the CLS research team. Some of the working papers below will subsequently have been published in peer-reviewed journals.

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Working papers

Non-cognitive skills: What are they and how can they be measured by the British cohort studies?- CLS working paper 2014/6

Heather Joshi undertakes a review of literature prepared as background to work on NCDS and BCS70 on social mobility. The first part reviews literature on the definition, sources and labour market rewards to non-cognitive (‘soft’) skills or personality traits. It is generally agreed that these factors play a role over and above cognitive skills, but through complex pathways. The second part of the paper reviews the ways in which the notion of non-cognitive skill has been operationalized by researchers using the British Cohort Studies, particularly NCDS and BCS70, as part of the study of the inter-generational transmission of social advantage.

Keywords: 1958 cohort, 1970 cohort, social mobility, intergenerational, non-cognitive skills, soft skills.


Author: Heather Joshi
Date published: 19 September 2014
Working papers

Research on health and health behaviours based on the 1970 British Cohort Study- CLS working paper 2014/5

This CLS working paper reviews research that uses information from the childhood waves of the 1970 British Cohort Study (birth to 16 years) as either health outcomes or as predictors of later health outcomes.

Author: Sam Parsons, Alice Sullivan and Matt Brown
Date published: 4 September 2014
Working papers

The art of asking questions about religion- CLS working paper 2014/4

Over the years, the 1970 British Cohort Study (BCS70) respondents have been asked a number of different questions about religion.

This CLS working paper investigates the way in which different questions wordings have produced large differences in the substantive responses. As well as comparing the 1970 cohort’s responses across different waves of the study, the study compares BCS70 responses to responses to the British Social Attitudes (BSA) survey and the Census.

Author: Alice Sullivan, David Voas and Matt Brown
Date published: 3 September 2014
Working papers

Training and accreditation of interviewers to carry out physical measurements on the UK Millennium Cohort- CLS working paper 2014/3

This CLS working paper describes our approach to developing an interviewer accreditation process for conducting physical measurements on the most recent wave of the Millennium Cohort Study (MCS), which took place at age 11 in 2012.

Key words: Longitudinal, interviewer training, accreditation, physical measurements, quality control, Millennium Cohort Study

Author: Nicki Rose, Rachel Williams, Lisa Calderwood and Kate Smith
Date published: 2 September 2014
Working papers

Handling attrition and non-response in the 1970 British Cohort Study- CLS working paper 2014/2

This CLS working paper studies the extent of attrition in the 1970 British Cohort Study (BCS70) and how it affects sample composition over time. It examines the determinants of response then construct inverse probability weights and uses a simulation study to illustrate the effectiveness of weights and imputations in dealing with unit non-response and item missingness respectively.

Key words: BCS70, attrition, unit non-response, item non-response, weights, imputation.

Author: Tarek Mostafa and Richard D. Wiggins
Date published: 1 June 2014
Working papers

Refining childhood social class measures in the 1958 British cohort study- CLS working paper 2014/1

The aim of this working paper is to set out an approach to classifying the childhood social class of members of the 1958 National Child Development Study. The specific focus is on the use of mother’s occupation and household tenure, in addition to father’s occupation, in order to create a more meaningful and robust three-category measure of social class that is likely to be of particular utility for those using the newly available qualitative materials now associated with the study.

The paper also provides a descriptive insight into the living conditions, during the 1960s, of children from different social classes. By drawing both on the quantitative data collected in 1969, and on retrospective accounts of childhood circumstances collected from cohort members in qualitative interviews in their early fifties, we aim to provide a picture of the diversity of experience of children from different social classes within the cohort.

Author: Jane Elliott and Jon Lawrence
Date published: 3 March 2014
Working papers

Consent to linkage to child health data in MCS- CLS working paper 2013/13

Peter Shepherd elucidates, particularly to those responsible for UK Health records, but also for users of the MCS data, that all reasonable efforts have been made to ensure that data will only be linked for children whose legal guardians have consented.

Author: Peter Shepherd
Date published: 2 December 2013
Working papers

How do children answer questions about frequencies and quantities?- CLS working paper 2013/12

This CLS working paper describes findings from two experiments undertaken to develop response categories to maximise data quality for a series of questions intended to be useable with 11 year old children. Using the Millennium Cohort Study (MCS), the paper aims to ascertain how to get the best quality estimates of frequencies of activity or quantities of consumption from children in response to potentially sensitive questions in a self-completion context.

Author: Kate Smith and Lucinda Platt
Date published: 1 December 2013
Working papers

Disability among young children – prevalence, heterogeneity and socio-economic disadvantage- CLS working paper 2013/11

This CLS working paper highlights the socio-economic disadvantage experienced by disabled young children in England. It uses the Millennium Cohort Study (MCS) to enhance understanding of what constitutes disability, showing the prevalence of disability among children using three different definitions: developmental delay (DD), long-standing limiting health conditions or illnesses (LSLI) and special education needs (SEN).

Author: Sam Parsons and Lucinda Platt
Date published: 1 November 2013
Working papers

Social inequalities in cognitive scores at age 16 – The role of reading- CLS working paper 2013/10

This CLS working paper examines socio-economic inequalities in cognitive test scores at age 16 for a nationally representative cohort of people born in Britain in 1970 (the 1970 British Cohort Study).

Author: Alice Sullivan and Matt Brown
Date published: 2 September 2013

Can encouraging respondents to contact interviewers to make appointments boost co-operation rates and save costs?- CLS working paper 2013/9

This CLS working paper describes a randomised experiment, conducted on the Innovation Panel of Understanding Society: the UK Household Longitudinal Study (UKHLS) in 2011, which sought to evaluate whether the ‘early bird’ approach to reducing interviewer costs and increasing survey response could be successful in a UK context.

Key words: longitudinal; non-response; incentives; call attempts; randomised experiment; appointments

Author: Matt Brown and Lisa Calderwood
Date published: 1 September 2013
Working papers

Stereotyped at seven? Biases in teacher judgements of pupils’ ability and attainment- CLS working paper 2013/8

This CLS working paper investigates whether biases in teachers’ assessments of pupils may contribute to creating and maintaining attainment gaps among primary school children in England. The paper uses data from the UK Millennium Cohort Study.

Author: Tammy Campbell
Date published: 1 September 2013
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