Accessing GUS Data

Accessing GUS Data

GUS data can be accessed from the UK Data Service (search for ‘Growing Up in Scotland’).  To download the data you will need to register with the UK Data Service.

The data is available in SPSS or STATA. An overview of the topics covered at each sweep, and all documentation, including user guides and copies of the questionnaire, are available here or from the UK Data Service. Practical help with using GUS data is available here.

If you have questions about using the data, or if you have a research question but don’t have the skills to analyse the data, please contact


Using GUS data? Please let us know!

If you use GUS, please let us know by emailing                        

It is important for us to keep track of what the data is being used for so that we can demonstrate impact.

Please also let us know if you’re interested in presenting your findings to relevant policy officials in The Scottish Government or at one of our events. 


Data access arrangements

Protecting the anonymity of GUS participants is of paramount importance to us. Before we archive the data, we remove any obvious identifiers from the datasets (including date of birth and geographical identifiers such as postcode). We also remove any variables that have a very small count by aggregating responses to form larger response categories. To ensure that no one attempts to use the data to try to identify participants through deductive means, restrictions have been applied on accessing the full datasets.

Different access arrangements apply, depending on the data you’re looking to access. These are outlined below.

  • Special Licence data

Most GUS data are archived as ‘Special licence data’. To access these data you must download and complete a Special Licence application. Applications are initially screened by the UK Data Service and then passed to the data controller (Scottish Government) for approval.

Because data applications under a Special Licence require explicit consent from the data depositor, applicants should expect a short time delay whilst their application is being processed. The Scottish Government and Scotcen Social Research will aim to review applications within one month. If your application is urgent, please let us know by emailing and

The application form requests your details, details of the research team, some information about the research project, details of any data linkage you would like to undertake, and a declaration that you will abide by a set of conditions. Please make sure you read the instructions carefully and provide all the details requested, as not doing so may result in a delay in being granted access.

One of the conditions of access is that you have read and will abide by the Microdata Handling and Security: Guide to Good Practice

Data sets currently available under Special licence: BC1 sweeps 1-8 (2005-2013) and BC2 sweeps 1-3 and a Teacher dataset for BC1 (conducted at the same time as Sweep 8).

  • Secure licence data

Data that are potentially disclosive are archived as ‘Secure’ data.  Access is currently limited to users in UK HE/FE and requires remote desktop or safe room access. Users must complete a form outlining their experience with using data, the intended purpose and justification for access which is sent to the data controller (Scottish Government)  for approval.

A Secure Lab User Agreement is also required, countersigned by the institution’s contract’s office. Face-to-face training is required (covering relevant legislation, how to use the service safely, Statistical Disclosure Control).

Selected geographical variables are currently available in this way for BC1 and BC2.



According to UK Data Service regulations, individuals requiring access to datasets must complete their own form and individually sign up to the access terms and conditions. This also applies to students wishing to access the data held under Special Licence (i.e. it is not possible for a supervisor to apply on a student’s behalf).

We are aware of the time constraints of much student research and will therefore do our best to apply to applications as soon as possible to facilitate student access to the data. To notify us of an urgent application, please contact and


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