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Tyrone Curtis
Programme Coordinator

Methods Summer Programme
London School of Economics
Houghton Street
London WC2A 2AE

Email: summer.methods@lse.ac.uk|
Tel: +44 (0)20 3199 5379

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The Millennium Cohort Study: Analysing young children's development from birth to age 11


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Teaching Faculty
Professor Lucinda Platt, Department of Social Policy, LSE
Colleagues from the Centre for Longitudinal Studies, Institute of Education

This one-week course will enable students to gain a strong practical understanding of the richness and research potential of the Millennium Cohort Study (MCS): one of the UK’s world-renowned birth cohort studies. The MCS has followed a nationally representative UK-wide sample of children born in 2000-2001 across their early years, and has been at the forefront of expanding the potential of data collection from children and their families in in-home surveys. The course will provide participants with an understanding of the different data elements, practical issues such as weighting and linking individual over time and appropriate longitudinal analytical techniques, using all five of the available data sweeps (ages 9 months, 3 years, 5 years, 7 years, and 11 years old).

The course is aimed at those from sociological, economics, epidemiological, human geography, survey methodology, child development, social policy and social psychology backgrounds with an interest in:

  • child physical, emotional and cognitive development across the early years, as well as family context and parenting
  • new approaches to collecting data from children
  • extending their analytical and data management skills with complex large, nationally representative data sets
  • utilising multidisciplinary data and approaches to address questions of child wellbeing and family dynamics
  • developing their understanding of longitudinal approaches and the benefits of longitudinal data for evaluating causal processes.

Course Benefits
On completion of the course, participants will have:

  • a clear insight into the value and collection of nationally representative, longitudinal survey data and the particular issues in surveying young children
  • a good understanding of the Millennium Cohort Study and its potential for investigating multiple aspects of children’s lives
  • the ability to conduct data management tasks and conduct analyses across multiple sweeps and multiple respondents to the survey
  • a grasp of relevant longitudinal techniques that can be applied to cohort studies.

Some experience of analysis of survey data and experience in using either SPSS or Stata for data management and analysis. This course is particularly suitable for those who have some experience in the production and/or analysis of cross-sectional data and who want to extend their skills and knowledge to survey data.

The objective of this course is to introduce participants interested in children, child welfare and cognitive, emotional and physical development, family dynamics and parenting, survey practice and the benefits of longitudinal data to an exceptional multidisciplinary resource, and provide them with the skills to analyse it appropriately. It is suitable for those with backgrounds across the social and health sciences and for those with an interest in survey practice, childhoods and survey methodology. It is aimed at those with some understanding of large-scale cross-sectional survey data analysis, who want to develop their skills and understanding to complex longitudinal data in order to address relevant research interests in childhood, parenting, and the development and predictors of differential child outcomes.

The course will be delivered through a combination of taught sessions and hands-on lab sessions to build up knowledge and enable practical exploration of the data and worked examples, exploiting the multiple sweeps (surveys at five points throughout infancy and childhood up to age 11) and multiple elements of the study (e.g. parent interviews, child assessments, child self-completion questionnaires, direct physical measurements).

The course will be delivered by experts in the fields of survey design, survey practice, longitudinal analysis and child wellbeing and development.

Teaching Schedule
The following teaching schedule is indicative only, and is subject to change. Teaching takes place from 25-29 August 2014.

Teaching schedule
  Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
Introduction and key features of the MCS Introduction to data structure / weighting etc Approaches to analysis of longitudinal data, specifically cohort data (session 1) Approaches to analysis of longitudinal data, specifically cohort data (session 2) Using additional data, e.g. linked National Pupil database data, geo-coded linked data
Class / Workshop
Surveying children: issues and examples Lab session: manipulating data with worked examples Practical analysis session with worked examples Practical analysis session with worked examples Extensions to comparative cohort analysis and future opportunities

Practical assignment completed over the week of the course.

Main Text
No single text book is applicable to this course. Instead, course materials will be specifically developed for the taught and hands-on elements of the course. A reading list covering both the analytical and survey research elements of the course will be supplied.

Stata and SPSS will be used for the data management and analysis lab sessions