SHARELIFE - Learning more about people's life histories
The method of questioning in SHARELIFE is based on a so-called life history calendar (LHC). The respondent’s life is represented graphically by a grid that is filled automatically in the course of the interview.
The idea of the LHC is to help the respondent remember by first asking for life events that are very likely to be remembered accurately. The interview usually starts with the names and birth dates of the respondent’s children (and other information about them), which is followed by the partner history.
As soon as an event appears in the LHC, the interviewer can refer to it for help. When, for example, a respondent is not sure about the date of a job change, a useful probe may be: “Was that before or after your second child was born?”
This principle extends to all other modules and is flexible as well: there is no need for the respondents to start with the children’s module. If it is easier for them to remember another part of their life, they can just as well start there.
Further help provided by the LHC is a list of prominent events for every year. In case a respondent is not sure about a date, the interviewer can help by naming or checking on one of these events. If, for example, a respondent can't remember a child's year of birth but knows it was the same year as the Watergate scandal, this information can help the interviewer to determine the date.
Below you find the English generic questionnaire as well as the translated questionnaire versions for download:
|End of life|
| English generic|
*As in wave 2, so called "end of life interviews" were conducted with proxies of deceased respondents.