Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Conducting a Large-Scale, Longitudinal Survey (But Were Afraid to Ask)

About the flowchart

Our goal is to describe how a single round of the NLSY79 or NLSY97 is conducted. To avoid having to title this "Everything You Never Wanted to Know…" we omit numerous steps, refrain from describing cross-cohort differences in processes, and give only a broad indication of which steps are conducted simultaneously. We also omit details about how long each step takes, in part because the timing is variable. In general:

  • Both the NLSY79 and NLSY97 are now fielded every other year; the Child/Young Adult is fielded along with the NLSY79.
  • Questionnaire design for a given round can last from three to 12 months, and must be wrapped up almost 12 months prior to fielding to have time for OMB review and pre-testing.
  • Fielding in recent rounds lasts for about 12 months.
  • Geocode data are released about 15 months after fielding is completed.
  • At any given time, the NLS team is typically working on two rounds of the NLSY79 (plus Child/Young Adult) and two rounds of the NLSY97.