The Scottish Government has sponsored surveys of school-leavers and young people since the early 1970s. These include the first incarnation of the Scottish School-Leavers Survey (SSLS) which, in the mid-1980s, was subsumed within the broader Scottish Young People's Survey (SYPS). In 1991 the survey was redesigned and resumed the title of the Scottish School-Leavers Survey. A further review in 1996 led to the establishment of the current design, which involves sampling cohorts of young people in fourth year and then collecting data from them on four occasions, at the ages of 16-17, 18-19, 21-22 and 23-24 years.
The series is conducted for the Scottish Government by the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen). The Scottish Centre for Social Research (SCSR or ScotCen) was created in 2004 by combining NatCen's existing operation in Scotland with an independent research consultancy, Scottish Health Feedback. SCSR have now taken over the running of the SSLS series.
The survey obtains information on the educational and employment activities and views of young people after they leave school, as well as background characteristics, such as parents' level of education and social class, family circumstances, and housing tenure. This is then linked with data from the sampling frame and other sources:
Repeated cross-sectional study: Biennial; Longitudinal/panel/cohort: the 16-17 Year Olds in 1997 survey is the first of the three waves to be conducted with one cohort. Earlier studies in the series do not have a cohort structure.
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