Guidance

CLOSER Discovery is a search engine that enables researchers to search and browse questionnaires and data from eight leading UK longitudinal studies. Users are able to search by keyword, or browse by topic. Discovery provides users with a range of features to improve their searches and find the data they are interested in.

Why use CLOSER Discovery?

Discovery is a user-friendly resource for locating the variables that best suit your research interests, and testing their robustness. A searching will show you:

  • relevant survey questions and variables, which you can filter by study, topic and life stage
  • the original question the variables are based on
  • where questions appeared in the survey, including complete routing
  • the sources of derived variables (but not the derivation methodology)
  • an overview of each variable, including valid and invalid cases; maximum, minimum and mean values; and in many cases, a frequency count
  • how to access the data from each study.

You can save information for questions and variables of interest to a List, and download it for your reference.

CLOSER Discovery is always being improved

Every month Discovery is updated with more content and further features and functionality for users. CLOSER also understands that any website will have the occasional bugs and welcomes any feedback users might have via closer@ucl.ac.uk.

To find out more about how to use CLOSER Discovery and upcoming improvements we recommend watching our webinar "Introduction to CLOSER Discovery", available below.

About metadata

The platform is built using metadata. Simply put, metadata is data about data. By using metadata, Discovery allows you to find out what is available in the UK’s longitudinal datasets, understand the context of how the data were created, and make an assessment about whether the data would be useful for you to pursue. CLOSER Discovery then signposts you to where you can request access to the data you’re interested in. To find out more about data access arrangements for each of the studies, visit our How to access the data page.

For users who are interested in metadata and the technical aspects of CLOSER Discovery, please visit the CLOSER Technical Wiki.