Survey Instruments

Survey Instrumentation

The link below compiles the survey instruments that were used to collect data from participants of the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study (WLS) since the first effort in 1957 through the current effort that began in 2020.

Full Instrumentation 1957-2020 (PDF).

Since the documentation exceeds 1,000 pages, steps have been taken to facilitate navigation and accessibility.

Documentation Organization

Table of Contents and Tabs

The document’s Table of Contents illustrates the organizational strategy used to compile all survey instrumentation. Each item in the Table of Contents is accompanied by a link, in blue font, to the respective place in the document where it is located; by clicking these links, users can navigate to the instrumentation that is of greatest interest to them. As can be seen, the material has been divided into “tabs” or sections, within which there are additional subsections as appropriate.

When navigating to any of the tabs, users will find a table of contents specific to the material contained within that particular section of the documentation; as with the Table of Contents for the entire document, links to all items within each tab have been provided. Additionally, each tab includes a link back to the document’s primary Table of Contents. Similarly, the title pages for all subsections within a tab contain links back to their parent table of contents.


For portions of the survey instrumentation represented by flowcharts (the 1992/94 and 2003 CATI interviews, as well as the 2010 CAPI interview), a system of internal linkages has been established. For each distinct set of flowcharts, an “overview” of how the depicted interview’s content was sequenced has been included; every box in these sequences has been linked to its respective survey “module”, or section of the interview. Analogously, all boxes signaling the end of an interview module represent links back to the respective overview for each. Since flowchart modules are visual aids we have opted to use in the place of complex computer language, links to the text of the program files that the flowcharts were based upon have been included in Tab 9 (“CATI & CAPI Program Files”). The links are organized by wave of data collection and respondent type (graduate, sibling, or spouse), each link prompting the appropriate folder of program files to open; within each unzipped folder, there will be a separate program file for every flowchart module.


To complement the interactive system of links just described, a corresponding set of “bookmarks” has also been incorporated into the document. To view them, configure your PDF reader to show bookmark links; by clicking bookmarks, users can jump directly to points of interest in the instrumentation. Nested by tabs, there is a bookmark for every item listed on the primary Table of Contents. Any bookmark with a plus sign next to it contains sub-bookmarks, which have been used extensively to account for all individual flowchart modules. To further bolster users’ ability to navigate the WLS instrumentation, text recognition software has been applied to the document in its entirety. The location of these specific words or phrases in the instrumentation can be determined by clicking the “Bookmarks” icon followed by the “Expand current bookmark” button. The bookmarked section users are accessing will appear highlighted in gray in the bookmarks menu. In addition to these navigational aids, a glossary of technical and abstract or uncommon WLS terminology has been appended to the end of the document.

It is our hope that this scheme of links, bookmarks, and searchable text will render the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study’s documentation easily accessible to all varieties of users. Please do not hesitate to contact us with questions or concerns.