Main Survey

Main Survey User Guide

Welcome to the Understanding Society main survey User Guide.

Data Access

How to access Understanding Society via the UK Data Service and unzip your data, plus what level of access researchers might need.

Study Overview

A quick overview of the study, its design and timeline.


    How the dataset is structured, the variables available and how to undertake basic data management tasks with the dataset.

    Using the BHPS

    Understanding Society is built on the British Household Panel Survey, which ran from 1997 until 2009. BHPS data is harmonised with Understanding Society allowing researchers to use both datasets together.


      How the questionnaire is structured, what's covered in the survey and how the Study carries out fieldwork.

      Weighting guidance

      How to correctly use weights in the dataset and why you need to use them.

        Support and resources

        Understanding Society help and support for data users.

        Analysis advice for mixed-mode data

        Using different modes during a survey can affect how respondents' answer the same questionnaire. Find out how this may impact your analysis.