Social Research Methods and Research Practices > Social Research Methods

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A large-scale crisis, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, has the potential to affect non-response in cross-sectional and longitudinal surveys. This study utilises a longitudinal survey, conducted prior to and during the COVID-19 pandemic, to examine the factors associated with participation in longitudinal surveys during the COVID-19 period, and how this has changed from prior to the pandemic. We find that a number of demographic groups are more likely to be non-responders to COVID-19 surveys, despite having completed pre-COVID surveys, as well as a number of other economic and personality factors. Reassuringly though, there were many more factors that did not have an association. The findings also highlight that two simple questions (with a low time cost) on subjective survey experience early in the pandemic were highly useful in predicting future survey participation. These findings can help to support survey practitioners and data collection companies to develop more robust response improvement strategies during the COVID-19 period.

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While research has investigated the effects of the Great Recession on the Irish economy using economic indicators or cross-sectional household-level data, this research note applies group-based multitrajectory modelling to provide a more nuanced approach. Using nationally representative, longitudinal data from the Growing Up in Ireland study, we analyse patterns in three common measures of economic well-being (financial strain; disposable income; material deprivation) across Irish households in the period leading up to, during and after the Great Recession, and subsequently, break down the characteristics for each group of trajectories. We identify six distinct trajectory clusters, which all indicate declining income and increasing financial strain from the start to the height of the economic depression. However, trajectory groupings show that experiences were far from uniform, with previous economic well-being and demographic characteristics shaping the household experience. Implications for future research are discussed.

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Although a negative association between socio-economic inequalities and health has been established, there is a dearth of robust longitudinal studies examining this relationship in adolescents. This study used a large, nationally representative longitudinal data set to investigate the association between socio-economic inequality, subjective health status and disabilities among young people in Northern Ireland over a ten-year period. Data were from the Northern Ireland Longitudinal Study, a census-based record linkage study (N = 46,535). Logistic regression models were estimated in which health and disability variables from the 2011 census were predicted by household deprivation in education, housing quality, housing tenure and employment from the 2001 census. Models were adjusted for health and disability status in 2001. Deprivation in employment, housing tenure and coming from a single-parent household in 2001 independently predicted poorer subjective health and disability status ten years later [ORs = 1.28–1.93]. Deprivation in education in 2001 was also associated with increased risk of disability in 2011 [OR = 1.15; 95% CI = 1.06–1.25]. These results show that there is a need to dedicate more resources and support for economically disadvantaged children and young people in Northern Ireland, where child health outcomes are poorer than in the rest of the UK.

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John Bynner is a leading advocate of considering context in life course research. In this paper I review some of the ways contextual information on time and place may enrich the analysis of individual histories, as well as vice versa. I take three examples from my own research: (1) a late 20th century analysis of adult health and mortality in Britain where individual and area level evidence are combined; (2) a cross-national analysis of neighbourhood and family predictors of child outcomes at age five in Britain and the US from the early 2000s; and (3) workplace as the context of segregation and the gender pay gap in Britain as it changed over several decades to 2015. The article ends with a discussion of the pros and cons of incorporating contextual evidence in longitudinal survey data sets with reference to the UK Millennium Cohort Study, which John Bynner helped to bring into existence.

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Young adults are co-residing with their parents at higher rates now than in the past, and recent research has explored the correlates of both leaving and subsequently returning to the parental home. Of relevance here, females tend to leave home earlier than their male counterparts, and research finds that drinking and drug use are also linked to residential transitions. This research note explores if substance use during adolescence and young adulthood plays a role in gender differences in home-leaving and home-returning. We find that marijuana use plays a role in both home-leaving and home-returning, with adolescent females who use marijuana the most at risk for early exits from home, and marijuana using males the most at risk for home-returning.

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