Understanding Society Waves 1-7: new edition

The enhanced dataset now contains improvements to the harmonised British Household Panel Survey (BHPS) / Understanding Society data, Special Licence geography data and new variables for researchers to use.

The new edition is part of Understanding Society’s ongoing work to improve and enrich the dataset. Wave 8 of the Study will be available for researchers in November 2018.

Full technical information on the re-released dataset can be found in the User Guide and you can find a list of all changes to the re-released dataset here.

The main revisions to the Waves 1 – 7 are:

British Household Panel Survey harmonisation improvements

There are some revisions to the BHPS data on which the harmonisation is based, including corrections to some household income variables and to the sample status variable (bw_sampst) from Wave 11 onwards. This version of the BHPS data now includes the net income data. These data are added to bw_hhresp and bw_indall files.

All waves of the BHPS hhsamp file have been newly harmonised for this release and the suffix _bh has been removed from all waves of BHPS file names.

Geography datasets

Special Licence geography datasets now contain geographies for the harmonised BHPS waves, where they previously existed for the stand-alone BHPS dataset. They have been partly harmonised so that the file and variable names have been amended to reflect the harmonised naming conventions. The methodology used, however, has not been harmonised.

New Variables

Two relationship quality derived variables from the Revised Dyadic Adjustment Scale have been added to w_indresp: Dyadic satisfaction (w_scdassat_dv) and Dyadic cohesion (w_scdascoh_dv). They are included in all odd numbered waves with the exception of Wave 3 when only w_scdassat_dv is present.

Coded variables from the immigration and ethnic minority boost module have also now been included with the non-immigration and ethnic minority boost data in f_indresp. The full list of new and revised variable can be found here

International use of Understanding Society

Understanding Society includes a series of geographical based datasets that are classified as Special Licence. They are divided into two impact levels, levels 2a and 2b, with 2b being the more restrictive. Previously, non-UK based researchers could apply for access to 2a but not 2b type data. That restriction has now been relaxed such that International researchers can apply for access to both types of data if their host country is in the European Union (and Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland) or if a country is on the list as having satisfied the European Commission’s adequacy rules for the protection of personal data. The European Commission has so far recognised: Andorra, Argentina, Canada (commercial organisations), Faroe Islands, Guernsey, Israel, Isle of Man, Jersey, New Zealand, Switzerland, Uruguay and the United States of America (limited to the Privacy Shield framework). Due to the potentially disclosive nature of these data, all researchers who wish to access Special Licence data must apply to use them through the UK Data Service. Decisions on access to Special Licence data are made on a case by case basis. For more information please see the Understanding Society Data Access Strategy.

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