Project "Life course perspectives in studying youth transitions to adulthood: bridging qualitative and quantitative approaches" (YouthLife) 


Tallinn University

The YouthLife project is coordinated by the Institute of International Social Studies (IISS) at Tallinn University. IISS is an interdisciplinary social science research and development centre which carries out research on various aspects of social inequality (or stratification) – gender, nationality, age, generation, education, position. Besides studying the life course of generations and the factors that shapes the life path and ensures social cohesion in Estonia, the IISS research groups also study the issues of lifelong learning and active ageing. YouthLife is carried out in cooperation with the Centre of Excellence in Interdisciplinary Life Course Studies (CILCS) at Tallinn University, which was created in 2015 by uniting the most eminent sociologists, demographers and political scientists at the School of Governance, Law and Society at TLU with the aim to facilitate initiation and implementation of interdisciplinary research in life course studies.

Ellu Saar (The Project Coordinator)

Ellu Saar is Professor of Sociology at Tallinn University, a Senior Researcher at Institute of International Social Studies, an Editor-in-chief of the journal Studies in Transition States and Societies and a member of the Editorial Board of the European Sociological Review. Her expertise is in the comparative quantitative and qualitative analysis of data on young people and their life trajectories, including also longitudinal techniques. She has extensive experience in coordinating the large scale complex projects including EU FP6 project “Towards a Lifelong Learning Society in Europe: The Contribution of the Education System” and she has headed Estonian team in several international projects connected with youth labour market transitions: EU 7th FP project FamilyPlatform, Horizon 2020 projects ENLIVEN and TECHNEQUALITY, European Science Foundation funded TransEurope Research Network Transnationalisation and Changing Life Course Inequality in Europe, EU founded Education as a Lifelong Process – Comparing Educational Trajectories in Modern Societies (eduLIFE), Educational Systems and Labour Markets in Central and Eastern European Transformation Countries (Volkswagen Foundation),  EQUALSOC (FP 6). 

Gerli Nimmerfeldt (The Project Manager)

Gerli Nimmerfedlt is a Researcher at the Institute of International Social Studies and at the Centre of Excellence in Interdisciplinary Life Course Studies. Her main research interests cover early childhood inequalities and parental practices, socio-cultural integration of minority youth, identity building processes and reactive identity mechanisms. She has participated in numerous international and national research projects and been responsible for preparation and implementation of surveys, analysis of large-N quantitative databases, writing up reports and publications. In addition, she has plenty of experiences with qualitative research projects focused on parenting practices, time use patterns in families, and identity building processes of youth.

University of Bamberg 

The University of Bamberg is one of the leading universities in the social sciences and humanities in Germany but it is also an internationally-leading centre in quantitative longitudinal and life course research. The Leibniz Institute for Educational Trajectories (LIfBi) at the University of Bamberg aims to promote longitudinal studies in educational research in Germany. LIfBi provides fundamental, transregional, and internationally significant, research-based infrastructure for empirical educational research at its location in Bamberg. It hosts the German National Educational Panel Study (NEPS) which is a panel study carried out since 2009. Its multi-cohort sequence design involves six large panel studies following up six samples (starting cohorts) comprising new-borns, children in Kindergarten, five graders, nine graders, university freshmen, and adults.

Hans-Peter Blossfeld

Hans-Peter Blossfeld is a Chair in Sociology at the Faculty for Social Sciences, Economics, and Business Administration at the University of Bamberg, Germany since 2002. From Sept. 2012 – Aug. 2017 he was the Chair in Sociology at the European University Institute in Florence, Italy. He has published 44 books and over 320 articles on life course research, social inequality, youth, family, educational sociology, labour market research, demography, social stratification and mobility, the modern methods of quantitative social research, and statistical methods for longitudinal data analysis.

Gwendolin J. Blossfeld

Dr. Gwendolin J. Blossfeld, is a Postdoc at the Leibniz Institute for Educational Trajectories (LIfBi) and at the chair of psychology I – developmental psychology (Prof. Sabine Weinert), Fakultät Humanwissenschaften, Otto-Friedrich-Universität Bamberg. She is an expert in the methods of longitudinal analysis, in particular time-discrete and continuous-time event history models. She has also extensive experience in preparing data for longitudinal analysis from complex datasets such as the National Educational Panel Study (NEPS). 

University of Southampton

The University of Southampton is one of the leading universities in Britain and is a member of the prestigious Russell Group of UK Universities. The National Centre for Research Methods (NCRM) (funded by the ESRC) is a partnership between three universities with international reputations in methodological research and training in the social sciences: University of Southampton, University of Manchester and University of Edinburgh. The NCRM unites outstanding scholars who have developed and extensively practiced the biographical approach in life course research and have advanced notably other qualitative methodologies for longitudinal studies, including the mixed methods life course approach. 

Rosalind Edwards

Rosalind Edwards is Professor of Sociology in the Department of Sociology, Social Policy and Criminology at the University of Southampton, where she is also attached to the ESRC National Centre for Research Methods. She is a Fellow of the UK Academy of Social Sciences, and a founding and co-editor of the International Journal of Social Research Methodology. Rosalind has researched and published widely in the areas of family life and policies, as well as studying and writing about research methods.  She has directed a 5-year programme of research projects on families and social capital, and was a co-director on the groundbreaking ESRC qualitative longitudinal research project, Timescapes. In collaboration with other NCRM members, she has developed a unique methodology – the breadth-and-depth method – for working with large amounts of qualitative data.  Rosalind has excellent experience of capacity building through online and in-person delivery of research methods courses, nationally and internationally.

Ann Berrington 

Ann Berrington is Professor and Joint Head of Department of Demography and Social Statistics at the University of Southampton and leads the Fertility and Family strand of the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Centre for Population Change (CPC) at Southampton. Her research interests concern transitions to adulthood, partnership and family formation and dissolution, and how these are associated with socio-economic inequalities across the life course. Over the past decades she has worked with many different types of longitudinal data, particularly those from the national birth cohort studies and large longitudinal household panel surveys. Ann has taught a number of courses on Methods for Longitudinal Data Analysis. She is currently PI for an ESRC-CPC project examining Partnership Dynamics in the context of economic and housing uncertainty, and Co-PI on an ESRC-funded project on Understanding and Projecting Fertility Trends in the UK. She is an invited member of the Office for National Statistics Expert Group for National Population Projections, the ESRC Strategic Advisory Group, and the ESRC Expert Group on Data, Methods and Infrastructure.

Susie Weller

Dr Susie Weller is a Senior Research Fellow in Clinical Ethics and Law at Southampton (CELS) University of Southampton, UK. She is also affiliated to the ESRC National Centre for Research Methods (NCRM) and is an Honorary Researcher at the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa. Susie has 20 years’ experience of conducting research with children, youth, and families. She has expertise in qualitative longitudinal research (QLR), creative, participatory, and remote methods, and qualitative secondary analysis. Susie has led and/or worked on a range of QLR projects, including a 12-year study of young people’s trajectories to adulthood as part of the pioneering ESRC Timescapes initiative. Currently, she is a senior researcher on the Ethical Preparedness in Genomic Medicine programme; Co-Investigator of TeC-19, an international QLR study of teenagers in COVID-19 times; and senior advisor on Bukhali, a study of women’s journeys to motherhood in Soweto, South Africa. With colleagues, she pioneered a new breadth-and-depth method for large-scale qualitative secondary analysis and co-founded the Big Qual Analysis Resource Hub. She has co/designed over 50 in-person and online research methods training sessions, including to multidisciplinary teams and international audiences.

The Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute

The Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute (NIDI) is a research institute of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences and is affiliated with the University of Groningen. NIDI is committed to studying demographic processes from a life course perspective and is a host of the Generation and Gender Programme (GGP), an international research infrastructure collecting micro-level data on the family lives of Europeans. NIDI conducts leading, high-level scientific research in the broad field of population studies thereby also contributing to solving societal challenges. The research is organised around four core themes (Ageing & Longevity, Families & Generations, Migration & Migrants, Work & Retirement), is characterised by an interdisciplinary approach and is internationally oriented.

Aart C. Liefbroer

Aart C. Liefbroer is a Leader of the Research Theme on Families and Generations at NIDI, Professor of Life Course Demography at the University Medical Centre Groningen (UMCG) of the University of Groningen, and Professor by special appointment of Demography of Young Adults and Intergenerational Transmission at the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam. He is a member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) and a national coordinator for the European Social Survey and the Generations and Gender Programme. His substantive research focusses on demographic events in the transition to adulthood, their causes and consequences, often in a comparative perspective. He recently concluded a large-scale project (CONOPP) on determinants and consequences of young adults’ demographic decisions studying cross-national variation in the strength of the consequences of childhood disadvantage for young adult demographic behavior. He has co-authored more than 100 peer-reviewed journal articles.

Anne H. Gauthier

Anne H. Gauthier is a Senior Researcher at NIDI and Professor of Comparative Family Studies at the University of Groningen. She is the International Director of the Generations and Gender Programme (GGP) an international research infrastructure, aiming to collect longitudinal data on family relationships and demographic behavior across developed countries. Her substantive research interests are in the fields of family policies, social and economic inequalities, and children’s well-being. Her work includes both qualitative and quantitative approaches, and often has a comparative focus. In honour of her outstanding work on these topics, she received the 2017 IUSSP-Mattei Dogan Foundation Award for Comparative Research in Demography from the International Union for the Scientific Study of Population (IUSSP).