What support is available?

The National Child Development Study (NCDS) has more than 16,000 variables across the nine full sweeps and the exams data. The task of finding the right ones for your research can be daunting. CLS produces a number of resources – listed below – to help you use the data.

See the individual survey pages for further support and documentation specific to each sweep.

Need more help?

If you can’t find the help you need on these pages, please contact our user support team.

Online data dictionary

The best way to start is to use the online data dictionary – a searchable database containing a ‘record’ for every variable in all the main sweeps since birth. It is structured to reflect the data collection by subject within the questionnaire or other instrument. It is also searchable using free text search.

User guide to re-deposited datasets

This guide covers the November 2006 re-deposit of NCDS datasets corresponding to the surveys from 1958 to 1999-2000.

User guide: birth to age 33 sweeps

The National Child Development Study: An introduction, its origins and the methods of data collection offers a general introduction to the data collections up to the age 33 sweep in 1991.

User guides: Age 42 sweep to Age 50 sweep

General introductions to each of these sweeps are available from the individual survey pages.

The design and conduct of the 1999-2000 surveys of the National Child Development Study and 1970 British Birth Cohort Study offers a general introduction to the data collection of the age 42 sweep in 1991.

Guide to Longitudinal Linkage of NCDS

This step-by-step guide helps researchers link longitudinal datasets using analysis software like SPSS.

Annotated questionnaires

PDF versions of the questionnaires are available from the individual survey pages. You can see a list of the subject areas on which questions were asked, the exact wording of each question, the context in which they were asked, and other variables on similar subjects.

The questionnaires are annotated, so that the variable name as it appears on the dataset is written in next to the question. Normally the order of asking of questions is the same as the order the respective variables appear on the dataset, with any derived variables appearing at the end.

Coding frames

Some questions were open-ended, involving a written response rather than a check-box (e.g. what is your current job?). PDF versions of the coding frames for these kinds of questions are available from the individual survey pages for sweeps involving open-coded questions.

Interviewer instructions

These allow you to see how interviewers were advised to deal with certain questions which may have required elements of discretion. The instructions are available from the individual survey pages.

Data notes

Data notes have been written for some sweeps to document specific data cleaning exercises or series of derived variables produced by collaborators. The notes are available from the individual survey pages.

Technical Report: Changes in NCDS and BCS Populations and Samples over Time

This report offers further details on the longitudinal response dataset, which was made available to aid analysis for the available 18,558 cohort participants.

Tell us about your research

We ask researchers to contact us whenever they publish research using the cohort data. With up-to-date records, we can help other researchers avoid duplication and also demonstrate to funders how useful the data is to the research community.

Useful links