One of the goals of the Gateway to Global Aging Data is to facilitate the understanding of the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) and its international network of sister studies by making key information about each study readily available to researchers. To that end, we have recently released Study Overview page(s) that briefly summarize each study’s sampling frame, method of data collection, sample, available data linkages, and data access process.
At the top of each Study Overview page, you will find a brief description of the study and links to where more information can be found, such as the study’s website and the cohort profile paper. In this example of the Survey of Health, Ageing, and Retirement in Europe (SHARE), you can also see that we have created unique Study Overview page(s) for each country that SHARE surveys, including all 26 continental countries of the European Union, Switzerland, and Israel.
We have included information about each study’s sampling frame, including how the original sample was recruited, who was eligible to participate, whether a spouse was included, whether respondents were followed into institutions, whether the sample was representative of the population, and whether there was any oversampling.
Also included is information about how and when the core interview was fielded. In addition, many studies collect other types of data that may be of interest to researchers. In the example above of SHARE-Austria, core interviews were administered at Waves 1, 2, and 4-7. Additionally, SHARE-Austria has conducted end of life and life history interviews, provided self-completion surveys, and carried out health assessments at various waves.
The next section of the Study Overview page(s) contains further information about the sample and any refreshment samples that have been added. From the above graph, we see that SHARE-Austria included a refreshment at Wave 4 that increased its sample size by a factor of five. Thus, a researcher interested in studying older adults in Austria using SHARE might want to start at that wave.
Due to the increasing interest of linking survey data with administrative records, we have included the availability of these data linkages, if any.
The following section provides information on how researchers can access the survey’s data and if any of that data requires additional approval from the study team. In the example of SHARE, all public access data are anonymized and available by request from SHARE-European Research Infrastructure Consortium (SHARE-ERIC). As a reminder, the Gateway provides a portal to our users that simplifies the process of applying for and gaining access to datasets from multiple Health and Retirement studies, including SHARE.
The final section of the Study Overview page(s) summarizes the harmonized datasets that we have built so far for the study. For example, the SHARE-Austria sample is contained in the Harmonized SHARE, Harmonized SHARE End of Life, and Harmonized SHARE Life History. All of these harmonized datasets can be created using Stata creation code from the Gateway.
To date, the Gateway has produced Study Overview page(s) for the HRS, MHAS, ELSA, SHARE (one for each of 28 countries surveyed), CRELES (one for each of the two cohorts), KLoSA, JSTAR, TILDA, and CHARLS. Remember to check back often for updates to the Study Overview page(s) and the addition of new studies!