Institute of Epidemiology & Health Care


Thinking of using the ONS LS?

Before you apply to use the ONS LS, think about your research question and how to base it on the data that is available in the LS.

Read about the ONS LS to find out more about the data it contains and consult the census forms that were used to collect LS data, or our summary of census questions (PDF). Think about the following questions: 

  • Who will your sample be?
  • What period will your research cover?
  • Are the census questions you are interested in asked in the years you want to study?
  • Are they asked of the age group you want to study?
  • If the responses are in pre-coded categories, will these categories meet the needs of your study?
  • Why is the LS more appropriate than other datasets for answering your research question?

Also, use the CeLSIUS data dictionary to check which variables you’d like to use, or CALLS-Hub's data dictionary, which crosses all UK LSs.

Finally, consult other resources for further information and guidance, such as our guides to using ONS LS data; look up current and past LS research projects to check that your research hasn’t already been done; and search outputs from LS research.

When you're ready to apply to use the LS, see Want to use the ONS LS for your research? and contact celsius@ucl.ac.uk at any point for assistance.