Combining social and bio-medical data collection: pros and cons of different approaches

4th July 2017 10:00 to 15:30

About the workshop

Please note: This event is for members of staff at CLOSER's partner organisations and other invited studies only.

Combining objective measurements of biomarkers with self-reported information about lifestyles and behaviour in longitudinal studies offers enormous research potential. 

This is becoming increasingly common and studies from different disciplinary traditions take different approaches to this. For example, some studies use clinic visits or nurse home visits for bio-measures in combination with primarily remote self-completion methods for self-report data. Others use an interviewer home visit for self-report data followed by a nurse home visit for bio-measures. There is also increasing interest in the collection of bio-measures by interviewers in a home setting.

This workshop will comprise presentations from a range of UK longitudinal studies regarding the advantages and disadvantages of the approaches they have used, particularly in relation to cost, response rates and data quality. The aim is to promote a shared understanding across disciplines and to discuss scientific, methodological and operational challenges. 


Outline of the day

The day will run from 10:00 till 15:30 with lunch and refreshments provided throughout the day.

1000  Registration and refreshments

1030  Welcome and overview of the dayLisa Calderwood (UCL Institute of Education)

1040  Session 1Chair: Lynn Molloy (School of Social and Community Medicine, University of Bristol)

1040    Using nurses as interviewers in a biomedical follow-up of the 1970 British Cohort Study- Matt Brown (UCL Institute of Education)

1100    In-home collection of saliva samples and physical measurements in the Millennium Cohort Study- Emla Fitzsimons (UCL Institute of Education)

1120   Data collection procedures in ELSA – Andrew Steptoe (Institute of Epidemiology and Health, UCL)

1140   The health assessment in Understanding Society: lessons learned and next steps – Meena Kumari (ISER, University of Essexl)

1200  Session discussion

1220  Lunch

1300  Session 2Chair: Alice Sullivan (UCL Institute of Education)

1300   Delivering science: A pragmatic approach to data collection in the MRC National Survey of Health and Development– Andy Wong (MRC Unit for Lifelong Health and Ageing, UCL)

1320    Collecting biomedical data: the ALSPAC case – Lynn Molloy (School of Social and Community Medicine, University of Bristol)

1340    Collecting social and health-related data in UK Biobank – Naomi Allen (Nuffield Department of Population Health, University of Oxford)

1400    Whitehall II data collections: cost, response rates and data quality considerations’ – Aida Sanchez(Institute of Epidemiology and Health, UCL)

1420    Session discussion

1440   Tea / coffee break

1440  General discussionChair: Alissa Goodman (UCL Institute of Education)

1530  End of workshop



If you require further information or have any questions, please contact Jennie Blows (