Imagine you are 60: New qualitative data available from the 1958 cohort

20 June 2012

A new qualitative data resource from the 1958 cohort study is now available from the Economic and Social Data Service (ESDS). At age 50, cohort members told us what they thought their lives would be like in ten years.

In 2008, over 7,000 cohort members from the National Child Development Study responded to an open-ended question: 'Imagine that you are now 60 years old...please write a few lines about the life you are leading (your interests, your home life, your health and well-being and any work you may be doing)' .

The original answers to the 'Imagine you are 60' question were hand-written by cohort members at the end of a self-completion questionnaire. The average length of response is 57 words with most cohort members writing three or four sentences or providing a list of short bullet points.

These responses have all now been transcribed and anonymised and have been deposited at the ESDS so that they are available for analysis alongside the quantitative data from the age 50 survey.

Resources on this dataset

  • Download the NCDS data from the ESDS website.
  • Instructions for accessing data from the 1958 cohort study are available on the CLS website.
  • An accompanying user guide provides further information about the content of cohort members' replies.
  • A CLS working paper is also in preparation, which will provide preliminary analysis of the content of responses.

Please see the podcast below for more detail on the range of qualitative data available from the 1958 cohort.

Prof Jane Elliott of CLS and Libby Bishop of the UK Data Archive discuss the rich qualitative data available to researchers from the 1958 National Child Development Study.