Why am I unique?

Why are Next Steps study members so special?

Life for your generation is different to the lives of your parents and grandparents and to the lives of younger generations. So, we follow your lives to understand and learn from your special generation.

The world around you has been changing fast. You’re the last generation to remember life without broadband, tablets and mobile phones. And since you were born, scientists have mapped the human genome, there have been space missions to Mars, Jupiter and Saturn, and gay couples can now adopt, marry and share pensions in the UK.

While your generation has grown up at a time of great technological, scientific and social advancement there have also been great challenges, like the global economic recession, climate change and international security. We want to know what this means for your generation who are in the process of finding work, somewhere to live, and possibly starting a family of your own?

You’ve been specially chosen to be the voice of your generation. You are one of 16,000 people selected to represent your generation. Each and every one of you brings something unique to the study, and together, you represent the diversity of the Next Steps generation. That’s why it’s so important that people from all different sorts of backgrounds continue to take part in the study. Without you, we don’t hear the whole story and the picture is not complete.

To learn more about why the study was started, visit the ‘History of the study’ page.


Why should I take part?

By taking part in Next Steps, you’re helping to shape society and to make life better for your generation and the next. Politicians, teachers, doctors, nurses, social workers and others use findings from the study to improve services and policies to help people like you. Find out more about how the study has made a difference.

It’s your story and only you can tell it. Next Steps has been following you since you were in Year 9 at school, aged 13/14 and we really want to continue following your adult lives.

You’re unique and irreplaceable. If you choose not to take part, we can not replace you with anyone else. Without you, we don’t have the whole story.

It’s important that we understand what life is like for people from all different parts of the country, different family backgrounds and different ethnicities. That’s why we need as many of you as possible to keep taking part – each and every one of you brings something new to the picture and together, you represent the diversity of the Next Steps generation.


How was I initially recruited?

Next Steps follows the lives of around 16,000 people born between 1st September 1989 and 31st August 1990.

You were originally recruited to the study in 2004 when you were in year 9 at school. Your school was selected at random from all independent and maintained secondary schools and pupil referral units in England and your name was then randomly selected from all the pupils in Year 9 attending your school in February 2004.

Over 21,000 pupils from 647 participating schools and referral units across England were originally approached to take part in Next Steps.

At that time, the Department for Education and Skills (later known as the Department of Education) wrote to you and your parents/guardians to tell you about the study and to invite you to take part in the first survey. 15,770 families were interviewed in the first survey in 2004.

A further 352 pupils were added to the study in 2008 to ensure that the study included enough young people of different ethnicities.

In total, 16,122 young people were recruited to the study.


Who else takes part?

More than 16,000 people have taken part in Next Steps since it started.

As you were growing up, your parents or guardians may also have taken part in the study as well. So, in fact, nearly 30,000 people have been involved in Next Steps in one way or another.

At future surveys, we may want to talk to other important people in your life, such as your partner or children (if you have them). But it will be up to them to decide whether or not they want to take part.