Northern Ireland’s Life and Times Survey
Public Attitudes to Data Sharing in Northern Ireland
In Northern Ireland, Professor Gillian Robinson and Professor Helen Dolk have led a research project ‘Public attitudes to data sharing in Northern Ireland’ using the Northern Ireland Life and Times (NILT) survey to collect benchmark data in order to understand where levels of understanding, concerns and knowledge lie regarding the sharing and linking of administrative data for research purposes, with a focus on health data. It is the first research of its kind in Northern Ireland. It found that there is public support for the sharing of personal data for research purposes where a clear benefit to society can be demonstrated. Professor Robinson noted “where there is trust in organisations that hold data, strong data protection measures, and clearly demonstrated public benefit from the sharing of data, there is significant public support for the sharing of data”
The research demonstrates that it is crucial for researchers to continue to engage with the public on the potential uses of data for research, and that researchers both understand and address their concerns as well as their desire to see data used for the public benefit.
The research is a partnership between Action Research Knowledge (ARK) and the ADRC-NI and was funded by HSCR&D