Challenges of longitudinal research in Low and Middle Income Countries (LMICs)

This survey is part of the Young Lives project to develop a new resource of methodological and operational learning to support researchers undertaking longitudinal research in LMICs. Visit our project page for details.
With the support of the ESRC, Young Lives is undertaking a new project to facilitate and catalyze methodological learning and lessons generated over 15 years of policy-focused longitudinal observational research in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Our aim is to generate new insights that will help us shape a learning resource that meets the needs of a growing community of practice involved in longitudinal studies in LMICs.

Our work is divided into four key areas of challenge and opportunity related to longitudinal research:
1. Research design and methodology
2. Research governance and scientific, policy and public impact
3. Data management and archiving
4. Research ethics

We invite you, as a researcher or practitioner engaged or interested in similar forms of research, to participate in this project by offering your own views, experiences and insights. Your input will help us define priorities, identify challenges, and share resources for a new digital library of references, case studies and advice that will support best practice in longitudinal research. 

It should only take about 5 minutes to complete the survey. Thank you in advance for your participation.
Research governance and impact

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* 1. What are some of the key challenges you have encountered or are concerned about regarding research governance, operations, and scientific, policy or public impacts?

  0 - don't know 1 - minor challenge 2 - moderate challenge 3 - high challenge
Research and operational leadership and management
Managing risk and uncertainty
Securing funding
Donor engagement
Working with governments
Equitable collaboration with institutional partners
Staff management - recruitment, capacity building, supervision and retention
Reporting, monitoring and evaluation
Ensuring scientific, policy and public impact
Data management and archiving

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* 2. What do you think are the biggest areas of challenge for data management and archiving?

  0 - don't know 1 - minor challenge 2 - moderate challenge 3 - high challenge
Harmonizing data across different longitudinal studies
Balancing open access with anonymization and confidentiality
Storage and management of large data sets
Using new tools and technologies to collect, manage and analyze data
Data matching with administrative and other data sets
Ensuring consistency, quality and reliability in your data
Dealing with different data ownership and access rights
Research ethics

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* 3. What aspects of research ethics do you find most challenging or would like more information about?

  0 - don't know 1 - minor challenge 2 - moderate challenge 3 - high challenge
Obtaining ethical clearance
Adapting informed consent procedures to local environments
Informed consent processes for children
Safeguarding issues - protecting the health and mental health of researchers and participants
Managing power dynamics and expectations
Ensuring reciprocity in the research process
Dealing with the unexpected, e.g. discovering protection concerns
Research design and methodology

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* 4. How would you rate the different challenges around designing longitudinal research in LMICs?

  0 - don't know  1 - minor challenge 2 - moderate challenge 3 - high challenge
Choosing disciplinary perspectives – epistemological, theoretical and conceptual 
Designing surveys and instruments (validity, copyright, format, etc)
Managing and reducing attrition
Keeping up with technology and innovation in data gathering
Consistency and quality control across survey rounds, sites and countries
Managing different cultural expectations and contexts
Additional information

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* 5. What forms of learning materials do you find most useful?

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* 6. Contact information

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* 7. What type of organisation do you work for?

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* 8. If you are not already on the Young Lives mailing list, would you like to be added to this to receive occasional updates about our research? (Please ensure you've entered your email address above, if so!)

Thank you very much for your participation. Feedback will be incorporated into future activities and resources to be published on the Young Lives website ( Please visit the site or contact us at: to stay informed.