A new study tracing the lives of Scots people from the nineties to the noughties will be launched today (Monday 26 March 2007) at the University of St Andrews.
The Scottish Longitudinal Study brings together information from the 1991 and 2001 Censuses, with information on cancer cases, hospital discharges and details of births, deaths and marriages. It is a powerful new tool for health and socio-economic research into modern Scottish society and will inform a wide range of academic and policy-relevant research.
Professor Paul Boyle, Director of the study, is based in the School of Geography & Geosciences at the University of St Andrews. He said,
“This study allows us to examine some important social and health questions in ways that were impossible before. The size of the dataset, its national representativeness, the wealth of demographic, health and socio- economic variables and the fact that it follows people through time are some of its unique strengths.
“It will be an invaluable resource for exploring some of the most important social questions in Scottish society today. For example, ‘why is the health gap between rich and poor widening in Scotland’; ‘why do Scottish women have fewer babies than women elsewhere in the UK’; and ‘how much have area re-generation policies improved people’s lives’. Overall, it provides an exciting opportunity to explore the changing characteristics of Scottish people.”
The Scottish Longitudinal Study contains anonymised information about a representative 5.5% sample of around 270,000 people, starting with details drawn from the 1991 Census. This is linked with information from the 2001 Census, the registration of births, deaths and marriages, migration in or out of Scotland and information about the incidence of cancer and hospital discharges. Some of these data are sensitive, although strict controls are in place to protect people’s privacy.
“In setting up the Scottish Longitudinal Study, we have been careful to protect the confidentiality of people’s personal information. The Study includes only a sample of the population, and the details have been anonymised so that no individual can be identified by researchers. The study does not, for example, include name and address details.
“This is Scotland catching up with England and Wales, where there has been a similar Longitudinal Study since the 1970s and we hope that this study will be as valuable in the future as the study in England and Wales has proven to be,” Professor Boyle explained.
The creation of the Scottish Longitudinal Study has been funded by the Scottish (Higher Education) Funding Council, the Economic and Social Research Council, the Scottish Executive and the General Register Office for Scotland. It has been created by a team at the University of St Andrews, directed by Professor Boyle.
Issued by Press Office, University of St Andrews
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Ref: SLS launch 260307.doc
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