ESRC Research Methods Festival

7th ESRC Research Methods Festival, 5-7 July 2016
National Centre for Research Methods is organising the 7th ESRC Research Methods Festival at the University of Bath.
Our team will organize two sessions on the topic of non-response in biomarkers collected in longitudinal surveys. The sessions will bring a mix of experts both in health research using survey biomarkers and in methodological issues linked to this.

Session schedule (10:00 - 12:30, Tuesday 5 July)

Biomarker and genetics data in Understanding Society: how can they contribute to social science research? - Prof. Michaela Benzeval
This presentation will consider the ways in which biomarker and genetics data might be included in social science research across different disciplines– as an alternative to self report health; to investigate biological pathways between social circumstances and health, and; to explore gene-environment interactions - with illustrations from ongoing research with Understanding Society. It will flag new ways of measuring biomarkers currently being explored and some of methodological implications of these.

Inflammation, allostatic load in cognitive ageing and mental health - Dr. Gindo Tampubolon
Longitudinal ageing studies are increasingly enriched with biomarkers information such as the case with the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing. Recent experience with understanding mental and cognitive ageing subject to informative attrition will be shared, as well as experience with understanding life course processes when biased and erroneous retrospective information was used.

Providing weights for secondary data analysts: the case of Understanding Society biomarker data - Prof. Peter Lynn
Collecting biomarkers within a complex multi-purpose survey introduces an extra dimension to the pattern of non-response. This presentation will describe the survey processes that lead to nonresponse to the biomarker collection, summarize the observed patterns of nonresponse, and explain how compensatory weights were developed. Some observations will also be made about the strengths and weaknesses of this approach to weighting.

Missing data in bio-social research: issues, practice and recommendations - Dr. Alexandru Cernat
Large surveys such as Understanding Society, the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing and the National Child Development Study are beginning to collect biological data to complement information gathered through questionnaires. While this offers great potential it also brings with it a host of unique challenges. We will look at one of the most important such challenges: missing data. In this talk I will present the issues surrounding missing data in biomarkers, current practices and how researchers can make the most of this new source while minimizing assumptions about missing data.

A draft program of the ESRC Methods Festival can be found here:

You can book your place at the Methods Festival here: