Where can I find support?

The 1970 British Cohort Study (BCS70) has more than 15,000 variables across all nine full sweeps. 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 [link] 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 guides

The design and conduct of the 1970 British Birth Cohort Study surveys offer a general introduction to the data collection at each sweep. The instructions are available from the individual survey pages.


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.

Questionnaires from childhood sweeps 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, either as stand-alone documents or included in Technical Reports.

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

CLS tracks published work using cohort data in order to help other researchers avoid duplication and also demonstrate the value of the studies to the research community.

Email clsfeedback@ioe.ac.uk