How can I use the ONS Longitudinal Study?

How do I access the ONS Longitudinal Study?

It is the policy of the Office for National Statistics (ONS) that the LS should be used as easily as is consistent with maintaining the confidentiality of the data. The necessity for confidentiality means that all analysis of individual records must take place on the ONS computer and only statistical abstracts or tabulations can be released to the user. To ensure this, ONS monitors both requests to use the LS and the resulting analysis.

For this reason formal channels have been established for requests for access to the LS for research purposes, and two teams of support staff have been identified to assist users: the ONS LS Unit and CeLSIUS.

Potential academic users (i.e. those working or studying in the UK Higher Education sectors) should initially approach the CeLSIUS team. If you are interested in using the LS, please follow our 'Step-by-step guide' to using the LS.

Other users should contact:

Micro Analysis User Support (MAUS)
Room 2101
Office for National Statistics
Cardiff Road
South Wales
NP10 8XG

Tel: +44(0) 1633 455844
ONS LS website

Where are the data accessible?

The LS databases are kept under high security at ONS. Only ONS or CeLSIUS staff can directly access the LS databases to produce data extracts. If you are staff or student in a UK higher education institution, CeLSIUS staff can extract your data, run your analyses and release results to you. These results will be in the form of tabulations, models or aggregated datasets; individual-level data is never released.

Alternatively, users can go to ONS to analyse individual-level data directly. ONS or CeLSIUS staff will extract a dataset suitable for your purposes which you can analyse in the ONS office in Pimlico, London. It may be possible for users to visit ONS offices in Titchfield (Hampshire) or Newport (Wales) instead, but this is not guaranteed. Results which can be released from any ONS office will be subject to the same constraints as mentioned above - they may be tabulations, models or aggregated datasets but not individual-level data.

In both ways of working the process is iterative and fresh extracts can be made or fresh analyses carried out, as your research ideas develop.

How do I find out about the variables in the LS?

Most researchers begin by checking the questions asked in the Census forms. The 2,800 plus variables available in the LS are described in the online data dictionary. The "metadata" (information about data) in the Data Dictionary include details of the range of each variable and relevant references to the LS Technical Volume (LS series no. 7) and other publications on the source and quality of the data.

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Last modified 18 August 2011