IOE - Faculty of Education and Society


Next Steps and new COVID-19 variables added to CLOSER Discovery

22 October 2021

Over 18,000 new variables have been added to CLOSER Discovery – the UK’s most detailed search engine for longitudinal population studies.

Busy city. Daniel Frese via Pexels.

Following this latest update to the platform, researchers can now search and explore over 9,000 variables from the Next Steps study, based at UCL Institute of Education’s (IOE) Centre for Longitudinal Studies. Researchers can also explore 5,000 new variables from both the Understanding Society COVID-19 survey and the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) COVID-19 survey.

CLOSER Discovery enables researchers to view and assess data from leading longitudinal studies, with options to search by keyword or explore by topic. Each search result provides a summary of the variables available, the question on which a variable is based and its lineage within the questionnaire. Users are also able to filter their search results by study, topic and life stage making it easy to explore specific areas of interest.

A milestone for Next Steps data in CLOSER Discovery

The inclusion of 9,000 Next Steps variables means that CLOSER Discovery now contains a complete set of variable metadata from all sweeps of the study.

Previously known as the Longitudinal Study of Young People in England, Next Steps is a nationally representative study which follows the lives of around 16,000 people in England born in 1989-1990. Established in 2004, the study recruited cohort members at age 14 and conducted annual surveys up until 2010 with an additional survey in 2015 when the cohort were age 25.

Topics covered in Next Steps include education and employment, wellbeing, mental and physical health, social participation and identity, family life, and use of technology. Research from the study has provided insights into the experiences of the millennial generation which have influenced national policy.

Professor Rebecca Hardy, Director of CLOSER said, “I am delighted that Next Steps has been added to CLOSER Discovery. The inclusion of these 9,000+ variables will undoubtedly help more researchers discover and start using this fascinating study in their own investigations.

I am grateful to Dr Morag Henderson and her team for all their hard work – not only in working with us to add the study metadata to Discovery, but also for their continued dedication to longitudinal research.”



Daniel Frese via Pexels