SHARE instructions for researchers

Accessing the data

  1. Fill out the User Statement (link to SHARE’s international home page) and email it to
  2. After your application has been processed, you can download the data on our data portal (link to SHARE’s Research Data Center website). The processing phase usually takes a few business days.
  3. You’re all set! Now you can start using SHARE data. Reading the instructions below will help you in getting started. We recommend utilizing readSHARE in particular in preparing the data.

Material for getting familiar with the data

These instructions relate largely to Wave 7 of SHARE, because it is the first wave in which Finland participated. If you want to learn more about the earlier waves, we recommend browsing the data documentation on SHARE’s own website.

1. Survey forms

Check out Chapter 13 from the publication guide (link to a PDF, opens in a new tab) to get a general picture and Wave 7 flowcharts (link to SHARE international home page, opens in a new tab) to understand the routing logic.

2. readSHARE

If you are a Stata user, the easiest way to get started is with readSHARE (link to a download page). It helps you read the data quickly with Stata, to connect modules, impute answers from earlier waves and from another respondent in the same household, for instance. Follow the instructions laid out in this do-file (link to external site), so you can get readSHARE to do the hard work for you and you can focus on the research.

3. Research waves

If you are planning on making country comparisons, we recommend loading the data of all the previous research waves. That way you can fill out the answers given in the previous waves for all respondents.

Wave 7 is focused on the life cycles of respondents. The SHARELIFE interview has been implemented for some respondents in other countries as early as in Wave 3.

4. Which questions have been asked posed to which respondents?

The questions posed to the respondents depend on two things: whether the person been interviewed before and which household member is in question.

In Wave 7, all Finns were interviewed for the first time, so you can find out whether the question has been posed to Finns in Wave 7 by checking the file Who gets which questions (Microsoft Excel file) for the value in column G. In other words, the column “Sharelife-plus baseline respondent (who never participated before)” gets the value 1 or 0. If a question presented for Finns has not been posed to respondents in this wave, it has been asked before, usually when the respondent has taken part in the study for the first time or during Wave 3.

All household related questions are not posed to both members of the same household, if both partners have been interviewed. You can read more about this in the publication guide’s (link to a PDF file) Chapter 9, Type of Respondents (pp. 12–13).

5. Sample

The SHARE sample is taken as a stratified random sample from the Finnish Population Information System. The sample covers the whole country so that people in the target population are interviewed in relation to the amount of population in different regions and levels of urbanization. Every person in the target population has a chance to be picked for the sample. You can learn more about sampling in all countries from SHARE’s Sampling Guide (link to PDF).

Looking for more help?

The FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) site on SHARE’s homepage offers guidance with some of the most common issues.

If you have any questions, our SHARE team is happy to help you.




Miika Mäki,