Latest social science research booklet produced

14 May 2013

Longitudinal studies booklet

The Campaign will launch its latest Making the Case for the Social Science booklet next month, on the theme of longitudinal reseach into areas such as education and health.

The booklet will be launched on 11 June by David Willetts, Minister for Universities and Science, and Polly Toynbee, writer and Guardian columnist. The launch will be held at the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills conference centre in London before an audience of policy makers and social scientists.

Two academics whose work is summarised in the booklet will talk about their research: Professor Heather Joshi AcSS, of the Institute of Education, and Professor Diana Kuh, Director of the MRC Unit of Lifelong Health and Ageing.

The event is sponsored by the publishers SAGE, whose Global Publishing Director, Ziyad Marar, will address the event, which is chaired by Professor Cary Cooper, Chair of the Academy of Social Sciences.

In their joint introduction to the booklet, Professor Cooper and Mr Marar say: “In the current economic climate it is particularly important that governments make decisions based on sound evidence. Longitudinal research can be used to ensure that policies are effective and efficient.

“The examples and case studies presented in this booklet illustrate the diverse ways that longitudinal research can help us understand the causes of social change and the effects of policy and practice.”

Important research presented in the book includes work which:

– inspired government to set up a state-funded, part-time, preschool place for every three- and four-year-old

– helped to ensure that care leavers now have a much better chance of going to university and getting a degree than they had 10 years ago

– emphasises the important role that grandparents have in caring for their grandchildren when the family is in crisis

Professor Joshi will talk about how she used data from two longitudinal studies to examine how a child’s development is affected if the mother worked during the child’s pre-school years. Data on the children’s maths and reading, and aggressive or withdrawn behaviour, found little evidence of harm from having a working mother.

Professor Kuh will talk about her work collecting new data from a cohort study which shows how careers, income, divorce and obesity levels of people are influenced by their early lives.

This is the eight booklet in the series, each summarising research that has had a direct benefit for society. Previous topics include crime, climate change, ageing, management and sport. The booklets are used to promote the power of social science to influence government policy and the public’s perceptions of important social issues.

The booklet will be put on this website after the launch.