Insights from the NCDS: designing research instruments, data triangulation, and participation in longitudinal studies

Katherine Brookfield, Vicki Bolton, Jane Parry

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

Abstract

The paper covers three methodological discussions arising from a mixed methods study on long term patterns of participation and volunteering among the 1958 NCDS Cohort:

The design of research instruments in longitudinal research: stick or twist?
Survey questions on social participation in the NCDS have changed considerably over time, making comparison between sweeps somewhat problematic. Here, we explore a number of these changes and consider how they serve to complicate the task of mapping long term patterns of participation. However, we also identify points of permanence where, in each sweep of the NCDS, comparability in questioning has been maintained. Against this background, we reflect on the relative merits of evolving vis-à-vis fixed research instruments.

Interpreting the research agenda: the insights of data triangulation for linguistic tensions
By combining qualitative and quantitative data on long term patterns of participation and volunteering, our study afforded insights into individuals’ differing understandings of participation and voluntary action, and highlighted gaps and conflicts between researchers’ understandings and research participants’ understandings. This section of the presentation considers these issues and their possible implications.

Growing up as a participant in the NCDS and the evolving nature of participation in a longitudinal study
The way individuals participate in the NCDS has changed over time as the 1958 Cohort has grown older while the Cohort’s relationship to the study has evolved. This final section of the presentation reflects on these matters, but goes on to consider how the conduct of research has itself changed and evolved since the NCDS was first conceived.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - 10 Jul 2014

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