Main Survey

User guides

Mainstage (waves 1-8)

The User Guide contains information about the study such as sample and questionnaire design, fieldwork data collection and data processing, as well as the details related to the usage of different types of variables, response outcomes, weighting, and imputation of income variables.

Mainstage (waves 1-8) - User Guide
Mainstage (waves 1-7) - Revisions since last release


Getting Started Guide

This guide provides a quick introduction to using data from Understanding Society. It is aimed at new users and covers the Main Survey and the harmonised Understanding Society/British Household Panel Survey. 

Getting Started Guide


BHPS – Harmonised User Guide

This guide accompanies the first edition of the Understanding Society – harmonised BHPS. It focuses on the harmonisation process, not the differences in scope, fieldwork practices, questionnaire design and content of the two studies.

BHPS – Harmonised User Guide


BHPS – User Manual

This User Manual provides information required for analysing BHPS data, including details of the fieldwork, sampling, weighting and imputation procedures, plus information to assist users in the linking and aggregating data across waves.

BHPS – User Manual


Ethnicity Research

This guide provides further support for researchers wishing to carry out ethnicity-related research with Understanding Society.

Ethnicity Research – User Guide
IEMB and non-IEMB questionnaire/variables comparison file


Cognitive Ability Measure

This specialist guide describes the concepts, questions and measures for the cognitive ability modules included in Wave 3 of the main and Innovation Panel surveys.

Cognitive Ability Measure – User Guide


National Pupil Database Wave 1 Linkage (Linked Data)

This guide provides further support for researchers wishing to use Understanding Society data linked with the National Pupil Database at wave 1 (available under secure conditions from the UK Data Service).

National Pupil Database Wave 1 Linkage – User Guide


Accessibility Data File (Linked Data)

This guide provides information on a dataset which links the first three waves of Understanding Society with the Department for Transport’s Accessibility Statistics for eight domains of public service.

Accessibility Data File – User Guide

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