Introduction to Understanding Society

When: Wed 18 Mar 2020 09:30 am - Thu 19 Mar 2020 05:00 pm
Where: University of Essex, Wivenhoe Park, Colchester, Essex, CO4 3SQ - View Map

Understanding Society collects information about individuals and the households in which they live repeatedly at one year intervals. It includes new and innovative features to allow research across different social science disciplines. To achieve the main goals of this multipurpose survey Understanding Society has a complex sample design and consequently a complex data structure. Thus, analysing the data requires a good understanding of the general structure of the survey, the sample design and the data.

Who is the course for?

This course is aimed at new users of Understanding Society, as well as those who have so far only made use of simpler aspects of the data. It aims to guide the user through the complexities of using this data for cross-sectional and longitudinal analysis, and ensure that they can make effective use of the data for their own research projects.

The course is free to attend and includes lunch and refreshments. 

Do you offer an online course?

If you can’t make it to the ‘hands-on’ workshop, enrol on an online course. The hands-on workshop and the online course are exactly the same in terms of the course material. The advantage of the hands-on workshop is that you can ask the instructors questions about different aspects of the survey as well as the course materials as you work through those. To enrol on the online course you need to fill in this online registration form. After registering you will receive an email with an activation link in it. Please use this to activate your MoodleX account. Once you’ve logged in, you can either search for this course or use this link to enrol. If you have any problems please email Understanding Society User Support and Training Officer, Stephanie Auty.

Course participants will learn about:

  • The way Understanding Society is designed
  • The Understanding Society sample design
  • Which data are collected
  • How the data are collected
  • How the data are structured and stored
  • How to find variables using the interactive online documentation
  • How to access the data
  • How to prepare the data files for analysis using the statistical software of your choice (Stata/R/SAS/SPSS)
  • How to use weights for producing population estimates

Course content and format:

The course is a combination of lectures and computer lab sessions.

The first day starts with a lecture on Introduction to Understanding Society: the UK Household Longitudinal Study (UKHLS) and its online documentation. This is followed by hands-on-sessions in the computer lab interspersed with short lectures on specific examples to be worked on in these sessions.  

The second day consists entirely of only hands-on-sessions and short lectures on specific examples to be worked on in these sessions. During the lab sessions participants will work through a series of worked examples, each highlighting a separate data management task, at their own pace. Instructors with expertise in the survey, data management and the statistical software packages will be present throughout the course to answer questions about the survey, the data and the software.

List of examples to be worked on in the hands on sessions:

  • UKHLS online documentation in a nutshell
  • Matching data from respondents at two waves into wide format
  • Matching data from respondents at two or more waves into long format
  • Distributing household-level information to respondents
  • Aggregating individual-level information to the household
  • Working with weights and complex survey design
  • How to match information of two household members
  • Using “egoalt” files

The worked examples will be based on Stata, R, SAS and SPSS and participants will need to specify the software they want to use in the registration form.

Location and accommodation:

The course takes place at the University of Essex, Colchester campus. Accommodation is available in nearby Colchester or Wivenhoe.

Course tutors:

The course is taught by members of the Understanding Society team.

Course materials:

Participants will be given handouts of the slides and worksheets accompanying these worked out exercises during the course. Electronic versions of this material as well as the statistical software syntax files will be made available for download during the lab session.