Main Survey

User guides

Main Survey User Guide (Waves 1-9)

The User Guide contains information about the Study, such as sample and questionnaire design, data collection and data processing, and information about using the dataset for research. The User Guide has links to training videos and webinars to help you make the best use of these data.

Main Survey User 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


Marital and Cohabitation Histories, 1991-2015 User Guide

This guide contains information about partnership spells reported by adult respondents in all Understanding Society and BHPS samples except the Immigrant and Ethnic Minority Boost sample up until Wave 6.

Marital and Cohabitation Histories 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.

User Guide to ethnicity and immigration research
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