Growing Up in Ireland (GUI) is the national longitudinal study of children in Ireland funded by DCYA and managed by DCYA in association with the Central Statistics Office (CSO). Established in 2006, the purpose of the study is to examine the factors that contribute to, or undermine, the well-being of children and, to contribute to the setting of effective policies and services for children and their families.
The study is carried out on behalf of DCYA by a team of researchers at the Economic and Social Research Institute and Trinity College. GUI involves regular waves of data collection to track the development of two cohorts of children – an infant cohort of approximately 11,000 children recruited at nine months old and a child cohort of 8,570 children recruited at nine years old.
The study collects data on experiences and outcomes across the domains of health, education and cognitive development, socio-emotional development, and economic/civic participation. It also collects background data about the family and local contexts in which children grow up (e.g. family social class and neighbourhood characteristics).
A series of Key Findings i.e. short briefing papers that highlight headline findings, are published after each wave of data collection, followed by a detailed report which describes findings more fully across domains and provides longitudinal insights into changes in outcomes and experiences over time.
GUI also publishes a range of technical and methodological reports and literature reviews.
All these publications are available to download from the GUI’s dedicated website and can be accessed here.
In addition, anonymised data from each wave are archived by the Study Team and made available for other researchers to use in the form of the Anonymised Microdata Files (AMF) and Researcher Microdata Files (RMF). GUI is therefore an important national research and data resource. To promote its use the Study Team at the ESRI run regular data workshops for those interested in using GUI data, and an annual GUI conference where researchers can present work based on GUI data.
The Anonymised Microdata File (AMF) includes a basic set of variables and is lodged with the Irish Social Science Data Archive (ISSDA) at University College Dublin. Applications to use these data files are made to ISSDA.
The Researcher Microdata File (RMF) is a more detailed file, which means access to the file is more strictly regulated. This includes the obligation that any researcher wishing to use RMF data must first register as an Officer of Statistics. For a full set of terms and conditions associated with an RMF application, see here.
Researchers must apply to the Central Statistics Office (CSO) for access; forms are available to download from the CSO website here.
To further encourage the use of data from the study, DCYA, through the Irish Research Council (IRC), funds an annual postgraduate Scholarship (PhD) under the IRC’s Government of Ireland Postgraduate Scheme. The scholarship is worth approximately €24,000 per annum.
Full terms and conditions along with guidance notes and application forms are available from the IRC website.
The management of GUI by DCYA and the CSO is overseen and supported by an interdepartmental governance structure. This includes an interdepartmental Steering Group with responsibility for strategic oversight and an interdepartmental Project Team with responsibility for operational oversight.
Ethical oversight of the study is provided by an independent and dedicated Research Ethics Committee (REC).
For further information on the GUI, including details of upcoming data workshops and annual conferences see the GUI’s website here.