ACADEMIC work groups have been set up to frame a series of questions for thousands of ordinary Britons participating in the country's social research programmes. More than 80 users of the 1946, 1958 and 1970 birth cohort studies databases gathered at the Institute of Education last Thursday in preparation for a major survey of the participants next year. These longitudinal studies provide academics and policy-makers with a comprehensive database relating to health, education, employment, family life and child development in the latter half of the 20th century.
The 1999 study will be the latest in a series recording the lives of the participants and their children. Recent commitments, by the government and the Economic and Social Research Council, to support the programmes financially means these studies should be carried out every four years rather than sporadically. All three longitudinal studies will be brought together in the centre for longitudinal studies at the Institute of Education in September. At present University College London manages the 1946 study and City University has the other two.