An introduction to the Scottish Longitudinal Study (SLS) Data

Friday 28th January, 2022, 10am-1300 GMT – Online event

Join us to learn about the SLS data at this free event via self-learn training material & a hands-on online lab session in R.

About this event:

(i) You will be given access to self-learn training materials (videos) which will focus on the SLS and the types of research that can be done with it, including:

–  Introduction to the SLS and what we can do with the SLS

–  Accessing the SLS and linking health data to the SLS

–  Education data, the SLS Data Dictionary and bringing in external data to your SLS project

ii) On Friday 10th Dec a live hands-on online lab session using SLS synthetic data. The session run in R will include:

–  Variable selection from a SLS project on persons not in employment, education or training (NEET)

–  Recoding variables/exploratory data analysis to get a feel for working with SLS data

Further, this drop-in open session provides an opportunity for anyone interested in using the SLS to ask questions to SLS-DSU staff on the self-learn training materials or about potential research projects using the SLS.

Please note, the self-learn modules (videos) and the SLS synthetic data will be made available in advance of the live session.

About the SLS:

The Scottish Longitudinal Study (SLS) SLS links together routinely collected administrative data for a 5.3% representative sample of the Scottish population (about 270,000 people). It includes a wealth of information from the censuses (1991-2011), vital events registrations (births, deaths, marriages), and education data from 2007 onwards. The SLS with appropriate permissions can also be linked to other health data sources including cancer registry and hospital admission data. The size and scope of the SLS make it an unparalleled resource for analysing a range of socio-economic, demographic and health questions, including those which are based on reasonably rare events. The longitudinal nature of the SLS is particularly valuable, it provides insights into the health and social status of the Scottish population and, how it changes over time. More info from:


Fri, 10th December 10am-12pm GMT

Join us as we showcase the UK Census Longitudinal Studies (UKcenLS) datasets, along with current research using each UKcenLS unit’s data.

About this event

The UKcenLS is the collective name for the 3 UK Census Longitudinal Studies datasets: the ONS Longitudinal Study (LS), the Northern Ireland LS (NILS) and the Scottish Longitudinal Study (SLS). Presentations, including an overview of each LS, sample sizes, data included, access procedures etc are given from their research support units: CeLSIUS, NILS-RSU & SLS-DSU. Plus we are showcasing exciting recent findings from researchers using each study.


Welcome – Chris Dibben, Co-Director of the SLS

Introduction to the UKcenLS datasets – from each of the 3 research support units: CeLSIUS, NILS-RSU and SLS-DSU.

Research talks:

  • The Health of Older People in Places Project – Emily Murray (UCL), using the ONS LS data
  • short break
  • Keeping it, losing it or gaining it? The loss, retention and uptake of the Irish language in Northern Ireland – John Hughes (ARU NISRA)/Ian Shuttleworth (NISRA), using the NILS data
  • The Island Effect: sociospatial associations between mental wellbeing and residence on remote Scottish islands – Kathryn Halliday & Tom Clemens (University of Edinburgh) – using the SLS data
  • Final roundup – Chris Dibben

This is a free online webinar bookable via Eventbrite


Tuesday 26th November 15:00 – 16:00

This free webinar, jointly organised by Understanding Society, CeLSIUS, the SLS-DSU is designed for anyone who would like to know more about sources of survey data available for investigating religion in the UK.

Dr Yassine Khoudja, Goethe University Frankfurt, will talk about the data on religion that is available via Understanding Society and other useful data sources such as survey data for exploring religion in the UK.

This will be followed by talks about the decennial censuses which have included optional questions on religion since 2001 (and for a longer period in Northern Ireland). Dr Aly Sizer, UCL, and Dr Lee Williamson, University of Edinburgh, will present on the ONS Longitudinal Study and the Scottish Longitudinal Study respectively, explaining:

  • what questions were asked, and what data they have produced
  • how researchers can use and access the data
  • how religion changes over time for individuals, and other areas that researchers have studied

The webinar will consist of 45 minutes of presentations and 15 minutes for questions.

The webinar is suitable for both new and experienced researchers but please note that the census data discussed in the second part of the webinar are accessed via a safe room and are only available to researchers based in the UK.

If you have any queries or require further information about this event, please contact Dr Aly Sizer


Or access via the CLOSER website

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6th November 2019, UCL Christopher Ingold Building, 20 Gordon Street, Kings Cross, London, WC1H 0AJ

UKcenLS team: Lee Williamson & Tom Clemens (SLS-DSU), Oliver Duke-Williams & Nicola Shelton (CeLSIUS)

This introductory training workshop session is designed to introduce people unfamiliar with the UK Census Longitudinal Studies (UKcenLS) and the unique social science that can be undertaken with microdata that tracks individuals over time, to the kinds of analyses that can be carried out using UKcenLS.

The session will provide a general introduction to the UKcenLS datasets: England and Wales ONS LS, Scotland LS (SLS) and Northern Ireland LS (NILS).

This introduction will be followed by an opportunity for delegates to have a hands-on session to:

• explore which variables are held by each LS in the data dictionary and use test data;

• have help completing an application to use LS data (main example from the SLS);

• meet Support Unit staff from CeLSIUS & the SLS-DSU to discuss the development of new research projects.

*Please bring your own laptop for the hands-on part of the session.*

No previous experience of microdata or statistical analysis techniques is required.

The event is open to all UK registered students, university staff and those working for government agencies or local authorities.


*The SLS-DSU will be in contact with registered participants nearer the time of the event to to confirm preferred statistical packages.*

Event timings:  13:30-17:30




7th November 2019, UCL Christopher Ingold Building, 20 Gordon Street, Kings Cross, London, WC1H 0AJ

This is a one-day workshop on survival analysis for time to event data suitable for those with experience of statistical analyses but new to this type of analysis. This course would be of particular interest to those considering using the Scottish Longitudinal Study to analyse time to event data.

This workshop will introduce methods to display and model time to event data, including Kaplan-Meier plots and Cox proportional hazards regression. The survival analysis theory will be complimented with hands-on practical sessions using Stata (R if sufficient interest is indicated) on training datasets. Presentations of real projects will also be given to demonstrate research potential.

The course is intended for postgraduate students, academics and social or health researchers interested in learning how to do survival analysis in a statistical package. The course assumes some skills in statistical analysis, in particular a good knowledge of multiple regression and logistic regression would be beneficial. Additionally, a familiarity with using Stata or R syntax/command files is essential.

Course programme:

  • Features of survival data including censoring and truncation
  • Plotting survival data
  • Log-rank tests
  • Hazard rates
  • Cox proportional hazard models

Event Time:  09:30-17:00

REGISTRATION:  09:00 – 09:30

The event is open to all UK registered students, university staff and those working for government agencies or local authorities.



* Nearer the time, the SLS-DSU will email registered participants to confirm their preferred statistical package – Stata or R.*




4th November 2019, New Register House (The Dome), 3 West Register Street, Edinburgh EH1 3YT

In an age of fake news, can you tell population fact from fiction? What is the average age of the population? What proportion are immigrants? How many people live with an illness or disability?

Join social science experts from the Scottish Longitudinal Study (SLS) and the Usher Institute and test yourself with an interactive smartphone and tablet based quiz featuring real-time live results and interactive discussion.

Showcasing the importance of accurate and rigorous statistical data this event will highlight our own mis-perceptions and biases and help you figure out fact from fiction!

Note: audience members will need to bring an internet enabled device (e.g. smartphone/ tablet/ laptop) in order to participate in the interactive elements of the event.

The event is open to the public.

Entry is FREE.

Event time:  14:00 – 16:00

Booking via Eventbrite



Edinburgh, Monday 2 December – Thursday 5 December (with optional ONS Safe Researcher training on Friday 6 December)

Interested in using linked administrative data in your research but don’t know what data is out there, how to access it, or if you have the skills needed? If you are a social or health researcher with experience of analysing survey data, or if you already work with administrative data but want to analyse multiple datasets linked together, this course is for you.

The course (run jointly by the Scottish Centre for Administrative Data Research and the Scottish Longitudinal Study Development and Support Unit) will give an introduction to administrative data, describing what it is, as well as some of the particular problems in working with this type of data and how to deal with them. Theoretical sessions will be backed up by hands-on practical sessions: using R or Stata to write syntax to tidy, clean and recode data; link datasets; manipulate data; conduct data visualisation; identify data quality issues; and fit regression models. Scottish Longitudinal Study (SLS) synthetic data will be used in the practical exercise.

Course participants who expect to access data shortly can also elect to attend free ONS Safe Researcher Training on 6th December.


·         Cost: £350 for students, £500 for others.

·         Apply: To apply to attend, complete the application form by 6 November.


Further information and booking:

Visit the course page for details and to apply, or email with any queries.


5th June 2019


6th June 2019

The three UK census longitudinal studies are organising this conference to showcase their research and to build research capacity amongst existing and prospective users. The first day of the conference will present research findings from across the UK and set the UK experience in a wider context with an international panel. The second day will offer two parallel workshops. One strand will provide ‘safe researcher training’ to certify attendees to use longitudinal data across the UK. The second will be concerned with the development of research ideas and seeking research funding. Find out more and book your place.

Dates:  8th and 9th April 2019

Venue:  Queen’s University, Belfast


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