Investigating measurement error and non-response in longitudinal surveys


  Deadline: 11 November 2016


The Centre for Longitudinal Studies is offering a full-time, fully-funded studentship, commencing in January 2017. Competition for entry is now open and the deadline for applications is Friday 11 November.

Applications are invited for a PhD studentship in the Centre for Longitudinal Studies at UCL Institute of Education. The studentship is funded for three years from January 2017 and is based on one of the following projects which relate to investigating measurement error and non-response in longitudinal surveys:

Project 1: Using para-data on interviewer calls to advance understanding of non-response in longitudinal surveys

The aim of this project is to generate important new knowledge about the trade-off between survey error and survey costs by using call record information i.e. ‘para-data’ from the Millennium Cohort Study (MCS) and/or the 1970 British Cohort Study.  It will provide an opportunity for the successful student to deepen their understanding of the factors influencing non-response bias and to extend their experience of multivariate modelling applied to rich longitudinal sources of data. Additionally it will give a valuable insight into fieldwork practices on birth cohort studies and provide access to unique new paradata.

Project 2: The impact of dependent interviewing and event history calendars on measurement error in event history data

Many longitudinal studies aim to collect event history data from their study participants. It is well established in the methodological literature that these kinds of data are subject to measurement error in the form of biasing at the seam between data collection periods. The aim of this project is to allow the student to use data from the cohort studies to examine the extent of seam effects in event history data and whether the use of dependent interviewing and event history calendars have been effective at reducing seam effects.

Project 3: Interviewer characteristics and their impact on measurement and response in longitudinal surveys

There is considerable interest in the impact of interviewer characteristics on measurement and response in surveys. Evidence suggests that more experienced interviewers tend to be able to secure higher co-operation rates, interviewers who have a positive attitude and expectations secure higher co-operation rates and certain personality types are also positively associated with gaining co-operation. However, there is also evidence that interviewers who are adept at securing high response rates may not necessarily be those who achieve the highest data quality, for example in relation to item missing data. The aim of this project will allow the student to examine the impact of interviewer’s characteristics on response rates and measurement error on the cohort studies.

Project 4: Effects of mode changes and mixed-mode data collection on measurement in longitudinal surveys

Technological innovation has led to a growing interest in the use of the web for data collection, and in the potential for mixed-mode surveys to achieve higher response rates than uni-mode surveys, and to collect data more cost-effectively. This has led some longitudinal surveys to adopt a mixed-mode approach, different modes for different survey waves. There is considerable interest in the effect of mode changes over time and the introduction of mixed-mode data collection on the comparability of longitudinal survey data both over time and within wave.

Within the aims of this project, the student will examine the impact of mode changes and mixed-mode data collection on measurement error in the cohort studies.


How to apply

Please complete the  Bloomsbury – CLS Studentship Application Form 2016,

  1. A current CV/resume

  2. Two confidential references (your referees must send their references directly to Isabelle Jerome)

  3. An example of your writing in English, such as a short article or essay.

Your completed application must be submitted to Isabelle Jerome isabelle.jerome@ucl.ac.uk, DTC Administrator by Friday 11 November 2016.

You do not need to apply for the MPhil/PhD programme at UCL Institute of Education at this stage. The successful candidate will apply for the MPhil/PhD after acceptance of the CLS studentship.

For further advice or guidance please contact the Bloomsbury DTC Administrator, Isabelle Jerome: isabelle.jerome@ucl.ac.uk

Centre for Longitudinal Studies (CLS)

The Centre for Longitudinal Studies (CLS) is an Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) centre. The centre manages four of Britain’s internationally-renowned cohort studies: 1958 National Child Development Study (NCDS), 1970 British Cohort Study (BCS70), Millennium Cohort Study (MCS) and Next Steps, formally Longitudinal Study of Young people in England.

For more information on the Centre for Longitudinal Studies and their objectives, please visit their webpage: http://www.cls.ioe.ac.uk

Bloomsbury Doctoral Training Centre

The doctoral studentship will be based at the UCL Institute of Education (IOE) and embedded in the ESRC-funded Bloomsbury Doctoral Training centre, led by the IOE. The student will benefit from the DTC’s skill development programme and will be encouraged to participate actively in both CLS seminars and conferences, and the IOE’s other seminar programmes. There would be strong support for and assistance in relation to journal paper preparation.

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