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Wisconsin Longitudinal Study

commonly asked questions

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Why do you keep calling me?

The WLS is a unique and important study which has contributed new knowledge about people's lives for many decades. Our success grows with every completed interview. We need your participation, and we are grateful for the contribution of your time and for your trust in sharing your life with us. We would not call you if the WLS were not a very important study.


 

     
     

What is this study about?

The Wisconsin Longitudinal Study is about "everything." Over the course of fifty years, the study has asked about life experiences -- education, family, careers, retirement, and health -- of more than 10,000 members of the "Class of '57," (students who were seniors in a Wisconsin high school in 1957), and of many of their sisters and brothers. Over the years the data gleaned from these surveys have contributed to hundreds of research studies, resulting in greater understanding of people's health and behavior.

What makes the  WLS unique is the generous, continuing participation of the members of the class of 1957 and their families over many decades. They have given Wisconsin and the nation in-depth information about people's lives that no other study in the world can match.

Click here for more information about the WLS and its history.


Are you advertising or selling something?

Absolutely not. The WLS is a research study, located at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and supported by our nation's leading health research agency, the National Institutes of Health. For more than four decades, the WLS has been one of the most important and best-known social-scientific studies in the world. The WLS has never sold anything to anyone, and it never will.


Can't someone else do this?

No, because no one else can speak for you. You were selected when the study began, and no one else can take your place. If we don't get to interview you, our picture of the "Class of 1957" remains incomplete. We need to talk to everyone in the original WLS sample.


Why do you want to come to my home instead of talking on the phone like last time?

Meeting in person will give you the opportunity to participate in some fun physical and mental activities that will help scholars better-understand aging. We are sure that you will enjoy the questions and activities, and that you will find it rewarding to continue to contribute your experiences to this study -the only study in the United States that will have followed a large number of high school graduates across 50 years of their lives.


When will the visit be scheduled?

The very first interviews will happen in March of 2010.  Because we will interview everyone, we expect to be interviewing people throughout 2011 as well.  When an interviewer is scheduled to be in your geographic area you will receive a letter.  A few days after you receive the letter you will get a phone call from the University of Wisconsin Survey Center.The interviewer will identify him or herself as a member of the UW Survey Center calling in regard to the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study. During the phone call, the interviewer will schedule an appointment to come to your home at a time that is convenient for you. We are very happy to accommodate your schedule. Or, if you prefer, you may call us toll-free at (866) 891-2492.


Can I be sure my answers will be confidential?

Yes. Once the interview is over, your name and all other potentially identifying information is separated from your answers to our surveyquestions. Your answers are then combined with the answers of others, which are used for statistical analysis only. Identifying information about you will be protected legally by a Certificate of Confidentiality from the federal government, and it will never be disclosed to anyone unless you ask us to do so.


Are you sure I am part of the study?

Fifty years is a long time, and it has been about six years since our last round of surveys. There are a few people that we were unable to connect with in the last round so for some it will have been even longer since we last talked.  When we talk to you we will verify that you are the same person we have talked to in earlier years.


If I have caller-id, what will I see on my phone when you call?

When your interviewer calls to make an appointment, you will likely see a phone number with an area code of (608).  Alternately, you may receive a phone call directly from the Suvery Center with the caller-id of UNIV OF WISCON.  Please feel free to contact us toll-free at 1-866-891-2492.


I'm a member of Wisconsin's "Class of 1957." Why haven't you called me yet?

There are two possible reasons why we have not yet contacted you. Because there are almost 10,000 study participants, it takes us more than a year to talk with everyone. Also, only one in three members of the "Class of '57" have been asked to join the study. Thus, about two-thirds of the class will never receive a call from us.


 

     
     

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