Attic discovery leads to new research

October 08, 2001

Picture a time capsule hidden in the attic for future generations to discover, and the wealth of information it might hold forty years hence.

This became a reality for researchers in the University of Leicester Centre for Labour Market Studies when they unearthed a long lost set of research documents from the early 1960s on how young people adjusted to working life and 'adult roles' in Leicester.

As a result of their find, Dr John Goodwin and Ms Henrietta O'Connor have received funding from the Economic and Social Research Council for a new research project entitled, From Young Workers to Older Workers: Reflections on Work in the Life Process.

Its aim is to examine the process of adjustment to working life and retirement of one group of male and female workers over the four decades, 1962/3 - 2002/3 and they are keen to trace people who were involved in the original research.

Among the records of the original 866 young workers interviewed, many must now be contemplating retirement, and the new research will analyse the original information and interview 200 of the group who are now retired.

The in-depth interviews will concentrate on people's own account of their lives and work and will allow the researchers to explore changes across the whole of their working lives.

Dr John Goodwin said: "The current project builds on research carried out between 1962 and 1964, funded by the DSIR and led by Norbert Elias and other eminent sociologists of the time.

"Even at this early stage two things really stand out. First, it provides a fascinating insight into the young people of Leicester in the 1960s. Second, it gives a snapshot of Sociology at the University forty years ago. It is a really good story about research at Leicester and the early work experiences of Leicester's youth in the 1960s."
For further information, contact Dr John Goodwin, Centre for Labour Market Studies, University of Leicester, Tel 0116-252-5944, Email or Ms Henrietta O'Connor, Tel 0116-252-5952, Email

1. The ESRC is the UK's largest funding agency for research and postgraduate training relating to social and economic issues. It has a track record of providing high-quality, relevant research to business, the public sector and government. The ESRC invests more than £46 million every year in social science research. At any time, its range of funding schemes may be supporting 2,000 researchers within academic institutions and research policy institutes. It also funds postgraduate training within the social sciences, thereby nurturing the researchers of tomorrow. The ESRC website address is

2. REGARD is the ESRC's database of research. It provides a key source of information on ESRC social science research awards and all associated publications and products. The website can be found at

Economic & Social Research Council

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