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A systematic approach to mapping longitudinal data usage: Reflections on tracking Millennium Cohort Study activity

Kneale, D; Patalay, P; Thomas, J; Khatwa, M; Stansfield, C; Fitzsimons, E; (2018) A systematic approach to mapping longitudinal data usage: Reflections on tracking Millennium Cohort Study activity. F1000Research , 7 (1559) 10.12688/f1000research.15990.1. Green open access

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: The Millennium Cohort Study is the youngest of the UK’s four national birth cohort studies, but the only study (to our knowledge) where a systematic approach to exploring data usage has been undertaken. METHODS: In this paper we: (i) explore previous exercises and provide justification for our approach; (ii) share headline findings of our research, (iii) outline the challenges of intersecting systematic review methods with survey design methods; and (iv) discuss the implications for future survey design as well as for future exercises tracking survey data usage. All of the results were obtained through undertaking systematic searches across 30 databases which generated over 4000 results. We then searched these records, first on title and abstract and then on the full text and extracted data on studies that fell within our specific areas of interest. RESULTS: A total of 481 studies were identified as using MCS data in novel analyses. Among these studies, measures that have been collected across sweeps—diet, BMI, SDQ and screen time—are all comparatively well used. Data that were collected from the child’s own reports (e.g. friendships and feelings) have seldom been utilised in comparison to data collected through parental reports and using validated tools (e.g. SDQ). Imposing thresholds on data was found to be problematic in some cases, for example for BMI, where a number of different thresholds for overweight and obesity were in use. The use of different thresholds can lead to substantial differences in the results obtained. CONCLUSIONS: Longitudinal consistency in measures is key to identifying change over time, and the review helped map the degree of consistency in measures, and their utility. The findings shaped decisions around inclusion of variables in MCS7 (age 17 years), as well as the way in which existing data were deposited.

Type: Article
Title: A systematic approach to mapping longitudinal data usage: Reflections on tracking Millennium Cohort Study activity
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.12688/f1000research.15990.1
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.12688/f1000research.15990.1
Language: English
Additional information: © 2018 Kneale D et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Licence, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Keywords: cohort studies, Millennium Cohort Study, systematic review, longitudinal studies, child development, child health
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Social Research Institute
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Cardiovascular Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Cardiovascular Science > Population Science and Experimental Medicine
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Cardiovascular Science > Population Science and Experimental Medicine > MRC Unit for Lifelong Hlth and Ageing
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10057860
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