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Funded for two years by the Economic Social and Research Council (ESRC), the aim of the Methodological Lessons and Learning project was to generate shared learning, strengthen capacity, and contribute to improving effectiveness in the conduct of longitudinal research in low and middle-income countries (LMICs).

Undertaking longitudinal research in LMICs brings a host of challenges often not present in other forms of research. Sustaining funding commitments over an extended period of time, coping with inevitable attrition in study participants, navigating complex ethical frameworks, or linking longitudinal data with other data sets – these are just some of the challenges we have encountered over 20 years of research in the Young Lives study.

The project delivered an innovative program of methodological and operational learning to support researchers thinking to set up or already running large-scale international development studies in(LMICs. The project focused on four critical areas: Research design and methodology; Research ethics and safeguarding; Research leadership and impact; and Data management and governance.

The references and resources generated both by Young Lives, and researchers in our extended networks, explored the opportunities, challenges and lessons learned from undertaking longitudinal international development studies. 

Emphasis was on outputs of a reflective nature based on practical experiences of long-term staff in differing roles within the study.  It generated a variety of thematic reports and summaries, podcasts, infographics, and blogs and hosted an international online conference. It launched two new series of publications within Young Lives: an Insights series showcasing expert viewpoints and a video abstract series, featuring reflections from authors how have used Young Lives data.

This research has, and will inform, all future Young Lives methodological research in the coming years. 

Project Information
ESRC (Economic and Social Research Council)

Accounting for Intergenerational Social Mobility in Low- and Middle-Income Countries, Fabian Koenings and Jakob Schwab

In this video abstract we hear from Fabian Koenings and Jakob Schwab who discuss their paper on social mobility within developing countries and how they use Young Lives data to present their conclusions.


​The impact of fathers' death on child non-cognitive outcomes in Ethiopia, Rozana Himaz

In this video abstract we hear from Rozana Himaz who discusses her paper ('Sweet are the fruits of adversity') that uses Young Lives' data from Ethiopia to investigate how the death of a father impacts children as they grow into young adults.


​Outsmarting Your Parents, ​María José Ogando Portela

In this video abstract we hear from María José Ogando Portela who discusses the paper 'Outsmarting Your Parents' by herself and Paul Atherton. It uses Young Lives data from all four study countries to examine how being the first in your family to attend school impacts the support they have and need.

Inequalities in Adolescent Learning, Elisabetta Aurino, Jasmine Fledderjohann and Sukumar Vellakkal

In this video abstract we hear from who discusses their paper 'Inequalities in Adolescent Learning'. It uses Young Lives data from India to examine how food insecurity might impact education pathways.