Data Issues

Waves 1 to 7
Data issues - Waves 1 to 7 – February 2019

26 Informant indicator in LSAC variable naming convention: Approach in Wave 7 and subsequent Waves

LSAC study content was asked almost exclusively from parents in the early waves (prior to Wave 5). As the LSAC study children are getting older, from Wave 7, some of the questions that were previously asked of their parents are now asked of the young people themselves. Some of the variables that were previously reported by parents in Wave 1 to 6 do not contain an informant indicator. The informant/subject indicator in the variable name is essential to LSAC because if more than one informant is reporting on the same questions, then the variable names will be different only by informant indicator (6th digit in the variable name). Therefore, variable names with informant indicators allow differentiating between data received for different respondents.

LSAC data management explored various possibilities to bridge existing gaps including the introduction of new variable names for parent and child variables with the informant indicators for Wave 7 (i.e. ‘a’ = P1, ‘b’ = P2, ‘c’=SC etc.) and rename parent reported variables in Waves 1 to 6.

LSAC critically examined the benefits and consequences of the renaming variable approach for data users. The ongoing nature of renaming variables in subsequent waves challenges the longitudinal consistency of parent-reported variables across waves and also restricts the utilisation of data users’ existing syntax files to reproduce analyses and outcomes for later waves.

Rather than renaming the existing variables that do not have an informant indicator, LSAC will continue to use the existing variable names for parent-reported variables (for previous and future waves); and follow a naming convention with an informant indicator for the new Study Child reported variables from Wave 7 onward. This new approach will ensure the longitudinal consistency of parent-reported variables without jeopardising the reproducibility of data users’ existing code.