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Administrative data

Research benefits

Linking administrative data can enable progressive social and economic research that really makes a positive difference by:

Methodology and outcomes

  • Providing evidence-based, up-to-date research which informs government policy
  • Measuring before and after impact of new policies
  • Identifying trends which demand action at an early stage by tracking changes over time
  • Enabling timely impact on more policies by achieving research more efficiently
  • Improving the quality and quantity of the information provided, and enable more useful research
  • Providing richer, deeper understanding across social challenges
  • Broader population representation than survey data alone
  • Understanding under-represented people who are otherwise be difficult to reach through other research methods.


Social responsibility

  • Instead of having many fragments of information, linked data collections create a broad picture across society, giving us greater understanding
  • Researchers can create profiles of social groups that need help, and their findings might overturn established views on how to tackle social problems
  • In-depth research over a large geographical area, with large sample sizes means greater accuracy – and the potential for highly informed government policy


Economical efficiency

  • Administrative data collections already exist, so there’s no extra cost for collecting the information
  • Administrative data are frequently collected in the same way over many years, and subject to departmental standards
  • The Network allows better use of under-used data resources
  • Administrative data collections are regularly updated
  • Researchers can use historical information to compare the same data over time to uncover trends
  • Administrative data collections tend to cover the whole population being studied
  • The collection process is not intrusive
  • The Network reduces the burden on people who respond to longitudinal and other surveys by linking administrative data to these other data collections.

Page last updated: 19/06/2017