Understanding Society has a special survey that asks our participants about their experiences during the COVID-19 outbreak.

With the current coronavirus situation in the UK, there is an even greater need for data about the experiences of the whole population. The Understanding Society COVID-19 questionnaire allows researchers to explore how the pandemic is impacting individuals, families and communities across the UK through our large and representative sample of the UK population."

Professor Michaela Benzeval

Director of Understanding Society

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COVID-19 survey - latest updates

  • Data from April, the first month of the survey, will be released at the end of May. 
  • Wave 2 will be sent to participants on the 27 May. You can find the draft version of the May questionnaire below. 
  • Wave 1 telephone interviews start 26 May. 
  • Suggestions for questions to include in the June questionnaire, Wave 3, can be submitted now. 

How the survey works

From April 2020 participants from our main Understanding Society sample have been asked to complete a short web-survey. This survey covers the changing impact of the pandemic on the welfare of UK individuals, families and wider communities. Participants complete one survey a month, which includes core content designed to track changes, alongside variable content adapted each month as the coronavirus situation develops. For participants who do not use the internet, we are planning a telephone version of the questionnaire in some of the months. 

The COVID-19 survey is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council and the Health Foundation. Fieldwork for the survey is carried out by Ipsos MORI and Kantar.

If you would like to receive updates from Understanding Society on the COVID-19 survey please join our mailing list.  

COVID-19 survey data

Data from the COVID-19 questionnaire will be made available to researchers each month via the UK Data Service

You can find the Understanding Society COVID-19 dataset,  Study Number 8644 here. 

Questionnaire content

The April and May COVID-19 questionnaires cover:

  • Coronavirus symptoms and test results
  • Management of long-term health conditions
  • Housing
  • Caring responsibilities
  • Loneliness
  • Employment and financial situation
  • Partnership changes and 'living apart together'
  • Division of domestic labour
  • Relationships within the household
  • Life satisfaction
  • Mental wellbeing
  • Home schooling
  • Food and alcohol consumption
  • Exercise and smoking

Each survey takes around 20 minutes to complete. The full questionnaire for May can be found below. 

Future questionnaire content

Understanding Society welcomes suggestions from researchers on questions for future months of the COVID-19 survey. We have had a fantastic response from researchers suggesting questions for future waves of the survey - thank you to everyone who has submitted questions so far. We have incoporated some questions into the next survey and some will be carried in future months. 

Please note that if you suggest questions for the survey: 

  • Your question(s) may be combined with other questions if the content is similar or where there is a cross-over of topics.
  • Space constraints mean that we cannot include every question that is suggested and some questions may be partially carried or amended. 
  • If your topic is out of scope it will not be included. Please read the full call for questions before submitting your question. 
  • All data collected on the COVID-19 survey will be deposited with the UK Data Service at the same time. Question proposers cannot have early access to these data. 

If you would like to suggest a question please use the online form below. You can find the full call for questions here. The next deadline for submissions is 23.59 on the 3rd June.

Due to the large number of questions submitted we are not able to include every question proposed - short sets of questions are more likely to be included than long series of questions. Given the tight timescales for preparing the COVID-19 questionnaires we are unable to provide early information on questionnaire content. 


COVID-19 questionnaire

Read the questionnaire that our participants will complete in May. 

Suggest a question to include in the questionnaire in the future

Researchers are invited to submit ideas for questions for future COVID-19 questionnaires. Use this online form to send your suggestions to us

Briefing notes

See how the COVID-19 data can be used with these topic based briefing notes prepared by the Understanding Society team. 

The Economic Effects

User Guide

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. 

Latest News

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New online User Guide

We've expanded and refreshed the User Guide for the Understanding Society main survey. 

Contact our User Support Forum if you need help using the data or have a question for the Study team

Support forum