Tuesday, 13 December 2011

EU researchers invited to apply for Data without Boundaries access to Secure Data Service

The Secure Data Service is a lead partner in the EU-funded Data without Boundaries (DwB) project. As part of this project, academic researchers within Europe are invited to apply for access to highly detailed social survey, census and business microdata from similar services in the UK, Germany, Netherlands and France (known as 'Research Data Centres').

This is a unique opportunity for researchers to receive specialist support and reimbursement of costs to conduct comparative research across borders.
Researchers should apply to conduct research at Research Data Centres (RDCs) not in the country of their residence. Therefore, researchers applying to access the Secure Data Service under the DwB project should not be resident in the UK.
Datasets available from the Secure Data Service are listed in the Data Library.

To apply, qualified researchers should visit the Data Access section of the DwB website for more information about the other RDCs involved and how to apply. Researchers approved under DwB to use data from the Secure Data Service will be contacted with details of the additional steps necessary to be approved to use the Service.
Access to the data will ordinarily be onsite at the Secure Data Service, located on the campus of the University of Essex. Researchers will be required to attend a half-day training session before being issued with a member logon, however the training session can be incorporated into the onsite visit to conduct research.

About the Data without Boundaries project
How to apply for Data without Boundaries access
Secure Data Service data library

New ESDS searchable interface opens library of case studies

Looking for ideas for how to use ESDS data?

Every day, data from the Economic and Social Data Service are used in leading-edge research and in university courses throughout the UK and beyond. Now, a new interface makes it easy to search and browse a growing library of ESDS case studies at the click of a mouse – a benefit to researchers, teachers, and others looking for ideas and collaborators. Each case study demonstrates how the data are being used, along with links to related resources and articles.

There are currently 62 case studies in the growing library, including examples from teaching modules to published research to ideas for future research in key areas. Users can browse the library using a variety of filters – for example topic, data type, and course type and level.  In this way, researchers can quickly find case studies of published research that uses longitudinal datasets to study health-related issues. Similarly, university teachers can find examples of how qualitative data are used to teach statistical methods to undergraduate students. There’s also a search function that allows users to find case studies by keyword, author, date, or any other criteria. 

The searchable interface is a pioneering project powered by Simile Exhibit, an open source application using semantic web technology. The interface includes a link to encourage users to share their feedback; comments will be used to improve both the case study interface and the application.

Monday, 5 December 2011

Data Training Workshops supporting the Secondary Data Analysis Initiative

Introduction to the Millennium Cohort Study
7 December 2011, London
Full day, hands-on Booking open

Data, policy and practice: the potential of secondary data analysis
11 January 2012, Belfast
Half day Booking open

Introduction to the cohort studies theme, TBA
Date TBA, London or Scotland
Full day

Understanding Wales: Opportunities for Secondary Data Analysis
16 January 2012, Cardiff Booking open

Growing up In Scotland(GUS) Data workshop
17 January 2012, Stirling
Full day, hands-on Booking open

Introduction to Understanding Society
24 January 2012, London
Half day Bookings closed - may reopen if spaces become available

Webinar: Introducing ESDS data
TBC January 2012
Webinar, One hour

Introducing the European Social Survey and the International Social Survey Programme: Key resources for comparative research
TBA February 2012, London
Full day

Introduction to business microdata: Using the Secure Data Service
21 February 2012, Colchester
Half day Booking open

Introduction to business microdata: Using the Secure Data Service
28 February 2012, Scotland
Half day

Secondary analysis of qualitative data: Opportunities
TBA February or March 2012, Leeds or London
Half day

National Child Development Study (NCDS): Using mixed methods data
6 March 2012, London
Half day

Introducing the International Time Series databanks
14 March 2012, Manchester
Half day Booking open

Introduction to ESDS - opportunities for researching the labour market
21 March 2012, Sheffield
Full day Booking open

Introducing ESDS data: Researching Housing and the Local Environment
26 March 2012, London
Full day

Immigration Statistics July-Sept 2011

The Home Office has published Immigration Statistics July – September 2011. This release provides the latest provisional figures on those subject to immigration control, for the period up to the end of September 2011 and is available from http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/publications/science-research-statistics/research-statistics/immigration-asylum-research/immigration-q3-2011/

If you have any questions or comments about this release, please send an email to MigrationStatsEnquiries@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk 

Also released today are migration- and population–related data from Office for National Statistics, Department for Work and Pensions and National Records of Scotland, all of which can be accessed from http://www.statistics.gov.uk/hub/index.html 

Monday, 21 November 2011

Opinions and Lifestyle Survey User Meeting - Call for Papers

ESDS Government is organising an Opinions and Lifestyle User Meeting for Wednesday 21 March 2012 at the Royal Statistical Society, London.  

The Opinions and Lifestyle Survey is a new survey that will be created in 2012 as a result of merging the ONS Opinions survey with some of the previous General Lifestyle Survey questions. For more information on this please follow this link: http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/about-ons/consultations/closed-consultations/2011/the-future-of-the-glf-survey/index.html

The User Meeting will provide users will valuable information from ONS on the content and methodology of the new survey. The meeting will also comprise a number of papers from users of the current ONS Opinions Survey and the General Lifestyle Survey. We, therefore, invite offers of presentations from researchers based on the analysis of either the ONS Opinions Survey or the General Lifestyle Survey.

Details of previous user meetings can be found at http://www.ccsr.ac.uk/esds/events/types/user/

Please send your title and abstract, of around 200 words, to gillian.meadows@manchester.ac.uk as soon as possible but by 23 December at the latest.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Understanding Society: Introductory Workshop

Date: 24 January 2012
Location: HEFCE offices, CentrePoint, London

This half-day workshop is designed for researchers who want to maximise the research value of the new Understanding Society dataset, also known as the UK Household Longitudinal Study (UKHLS).

The event, jointly organised by the Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER) and the Economic and Social Data Service (ESDS), includes presentations on:

  • the value of household longitudinal studies
  • the design and collection of the Understanding Society survey
  • how to access the data

A particular focus will be on the study's four samples, including the British Household Panel Study and the Ethnic Minority Boost sample, plus the study's richness of data on family and social ties, work, financial resources, and health. Participants will also learn how to use the online resources available to users.

This is one of a series of events being run in support of the ESRC's Secondary Data Analysis Initiative. The course is free to attend but booking is essential.

For further details and to book a place please visit: http://www.esds.ac.uk/longitudinal/news/eventdetail.asp?id=3051

Monday, 14 November 2011

from the website http://www.opendata.go.ke/page/about

About the Kenyan Open Government Data Portal

Our information is a national asset, and this site is about sharing it.
The goal of opendata.go.ke is to make core government development, demographic, statistical and expenditure data available in a useful digital format for researchers, policymakers, ICT developers and the general public.

Why are we making data available?

Making this data easily accessible is important for 3 key reasons:
  1. It's a platform for innovation, that will generate economic and social value: from savings and efficiencies within government, service delivery improvements and citizen feedback systems to new wealth and jobs generated in the private sector.
  2. It enables data-driven decision making: parliamentarians, policy makers, civil society organisations and individuals can see progress and make accurate, informed decisions on issues that affect people's lives.
  3. It's the foundation for improving transparency and accountability: the data includes detailed, timely information on the operations of government, the results of the work it does and the opportunities that exist for improving the country.

What data is available?

Right now, there are over 160 datasets including the complete 2009 census, national budget data, nation and county public expenditure data, information on health care and school facilities. See the Data Catalog for a full list of what is available.

Who can use this data?

In short, anybody is free to use this data for commercial or non-commercial purposes. See the terms and conditions for a more detailed explanation.

How can I use this data?

This site is intended to initially have something for everyone:
  • There are maps and county factsheets that will let you quickly see data in a convenient form.
  • The charts and tables on the site are dynamic and can be customised with filters and queries to answer your particular questions.
  • Finally, the raw data is available for download and accessible via an API so technical users and developers can analyse data and use it to build applications for the web and mobile.

How can I find out more?

If you've got ideas for the site, want to contribute data or simply have a question that's not covered here, please contact us:
t: + 254-020-2093040 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting + 254-020-2093040 end_of_the_skype_highlighting
e: contact@opendata.go.ke

Select Committee Inquiry: The Census and Social Science


No. 98 (10-12): 9 November 2011

NEW INQUIRY ANNOUNCED: The census and social science

In July 2010 the Government announced that the Census, the official population count carried out by Government every 10 years, would be axed after 2011. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) set up the Beyond 2011 Programme to investigate and assess alternative options for producing the population and socio-demographic data required in England and Wales.

The Science and Technology Committee has agreed to conduct a short inquiry looking at the impact of ending the Census on social science research. It is anticipated that this will feed into the work of the ONS.
Terms of Reference

The Committee seeks written submissions on the following matters:

  1. How do social scientists use Census data?
  2. What impact will the ending of the Census have on social science research?
  3. What alternatives to the Census would provide population and socio-demographic data of equivalent or higher quality?
  4. What other existing sources of population and socio-demographic data could be improved upon?
Submitting written evidence
The Committee invites written submissions on these issues by noon on Wednesday 30 November 2011.
Each submission should:
a) be no more than 3,000 words in length;
b) be in Word format with as little use of colour or logos as possible;
c) have numbered paragraphs; and
d) include a declaration of interests.
A copy of the submission should be sent by e-mail to scitechcom@parliament.uk and marked "Census". An additional paper copy should be sent in due course (not by the deadline) to:
The Clerk
Science and Technology Committee
House of Commons
7 Millbank
London SW1P 3JA
Please note that:
·                     ▪ Material already published elsewhere should not form the basis of a submission, but may be referred to within a proposed memorandum, in which case a hard copy of the published work should be included.
·                     ▪ Memoranda submitted must be kept confidential until published by the Committee, unless publication by the person or organisation submitting it is specifically authorised.
·                     ▪ Once submitted, evidence is the property of the Committee. The Committee normally, though not always, chooses to make public the written evidence it receives, by publishing it on the internet (where it will be searchable), by printing it or by making it available through the Parliamentary Archives. If there is any information you believe to be sensitive you should highlight it and explain what harm you believe would result from its disclosure. The Committee will take this into account in deciding whether to publish or further disclose the evidence.
·                     ▪ Select Committees are unable to investigate individual cases.
More information on submitting evidence to Select Committees may be found on the parliamentary website at: http://www.parliament.uk/get-involved/have-your-say/take-part-in-committee-inquiries/witness/


Committee Membership:

Andrew Miller (Labour, Ellesmere Port and Neston) (Chair)
Gavin Barwell (Conservative, Croydon Central)
Gregg McClymont (Labour, Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East)
Stephen McPartland (Conservative, Stevenage)
Stephen Metcalfe (Conservative, South Basildon and East Thurrock)
David Morris (Conservative, Morecambe and Lunesdale)
Stephen Mosley (Conservative, City of Chester)
Pamela Nash (Labour, Airdrie and Shotts)
Jonathan Reynolds (Labour/Co-operative, Stalybridge and Hyde)
Graham Stringer (Labour, Blackley and Broughton)
Roger Williams (Liberal Democrat, Brecon and Radnorshire)

Specific Committee Information:
  scitechcom@parliament.uk / 020 7219 2793
Media Information: Rebecca Jones  jonesbl@parliament.uk / 020 7219 5693
Committee Website: www.parliament.uk/science
Watch committees and parliamentary debates online:  www.parliamentlive.tv

Publications / Reports / Reference Material: Copies of all select committee reports are available from the Parliamentary Bookshop (12 Bridge St, Westminster, 020 7219 3890) or the Stationery Office (0845 7023474).  Committee reports, press releases, evidence transcripts, Bills; research papers, a directory of MPs, plus Hansard (from 8am daily) and much more, can be found on www.parliament.uk

Call for papers - Living Costs and Food Survey user meeting

ESDS Government is organising it's first LCF user meeting for Tuesday 20 March 2012 at the Royal Statistical Society, London. The programme will contain a mixture of papers from data producers and researchers. We invite offers of presentations based on analysis of the Living Costs and Food Survey and the former Expenditure and Food Survey. Presenters will have 20 minutes for their talk followed by 10 minutes for questions.

Details of previous user meetings can be found at http://www.ccsr.ac.uk/esds/events/types/user/

Please send your title and abstract, of around 200 words, to gillian.meadows@manchester.ac.uk as soon as possible but by 9 December at the latest.

Monday, 31 October 2011

Update from ONS on the future of the GLF Survey

ONS has recently published a short information note on their progress and intentions regarding the future of the General Lifestyle Survey. The note, called Update to the future of the GLF survey outlines the intention to change the way the General Lifestyle Survey data are collected, seeks to identify the current uses of the survey data, any implications of stopping the survey, and options for alternative information sources.


Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Track Changes in ORBIS

Bureau van Dijk provides a website detailing all the changes to the ID variable in the ORBIS database. http://idchanges.bvdinfo.com 

Booking now open for ESDS International 7th Annual Conference 2011

ESDS International is holding this year's annual conference on Monday 28 November 2011 at the Institute of Materials in London.

Booking now open (http://www.esds.ac.uk/news/esdsEventManagement.asp?id=2904).

Programme (http://www.esds.ac.uk/international/news/conf2011.asp).

The theme of the conference is Understanding the World: Evidence and Impact, and the event will be an opportunity for users and providers of international data to meet and share their ideas on issues relating to international data research.

This half day event will include a presentation by Gareth McGuinness from the International Monetary Fund on 'Understanding the world economy using Principal Global Indicators and other international data', Toby Green from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development will tell 'The story behind the OECD's Your Better Life Index' and we will also hear NatCen speaking about the 'European Social Survey'.

The programme also includes two 'Meet the Researcher' sessions:

• The poster presentation session is an opportunity for researchers using international data to introduce their work on topics such as 'Are Oil Revenue Funds effective in oil rich countries?', 'The curse of tourism?', 'Openness, Economic Growth, and Human Development: Evidence from South Asia' and 'Impact of Green Energy Policies on Electricity Market: An Econometric Analysis'.

• The second session includes talks on the following subjects - 'The Yield Curve as a Predictor of Economic Performance in Asia', 'The Effects of Economic Reforms on Manufacturing Dualism: Evidence from India', 'Electricity Co-operation and Decarbonisation: The Role of Import and Export in CO2 Reduction' and 'A Comparison of the EU-15 Countries Based on the Stiglitz Report’s Recommendations'

This event is intended to appeal to policy makers, members of the academic community using the international databanks in their research and teaching, data librarians and producers of international data resources. The event is free and open to all but capacity is limited, so booking is essential.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

On-line training in Research Data Management

The Research Data Management Training, or MANTRA project has produced an open, online training course to help disseminate good practice in research data management at the University of Edinburgh and beyond.

What is it?

It is a non-credit, free online course which provides guidelines for good practice in research data management. It consists of interactive online units focused on key concepts of data management. They include video clips featuring senior academics talking about data management challenges. In addition there are practical exercises in handling data within four software analysis environments (SPSS, NVivo, R and ArcGIS), which learners can download and work through at their own pace.

Who is it for?

It is for PhD students, early career researchers, and all others who are planning a research project based on digital data. The course is an Open Educational Resource that may be freely used by anyone. It is available through an open license for rejigging, rebranding, and repurposing.

Who produced it?

The Data Library team at EDINA produced the materials over the course of the past year as part of the JISC Managing Research Data programme. They worked with the School of Social and Political Studies, the School of GeoSciences and the Doctorate in Clinical Psychology to target the resources towards their doctoral training programmes. The Data Library at the University of Edinburgh has been providing research data services to staff and students for over twenty-five years. The data handling software practicals were written by expert data analysts in each software domain. The online module was created using Xerte Online Toolkits, an open source authoring tool.

For more information, see the course website: http://datalib.edina.ac.uk/mantra

Introduction to BHPS using Stata

Date: 28th-29th November
Venue: Social Science Research Centre at the University of Essex campus, Colchester

This course is aimed at new users of the BHPS or those who have so far made use only of simpler aspects of the data. The underlying structure of the BHPS is complex, with various different data about individuals and the households in which they live across time. The BHPS team has tried to make this structure as transparent as possible through the way data is organised. However, even the number of different data sets can appear daunting. This course aims to guide the user through these apparent complexities, and ensure that they can effectively make use of as much of the data as they require for their own research projects.

The main focus is on the data reorganisation techniques required for different types of cross-sectional and longitudinal research, rather than the statistical techniques themselves, but it is informed by the ways in which data require to be organised for different statistical techniques.

Participants will learn about the way the BHPS is designed, which data are collected, how they are collected and how the data are structured and stored. By the end of the two day course, the participant will have a thorough knowledge of the BHPS, from survey design to data-set structure, and will have the tools to make the most of a rich, but complex, data set.

A basic working knowledge of Stata is assumed. For more information and to see course prerequisites please go to the website http://www.iser.essex.ac.uk/bhps/courses/stata-intro

Introduction to Understanding Society – the UK Household Longitudinal Study

Date & time: November 29, 2011 13:00
Venue: Institute for Social and Economic Research (ISER), University of Essex, Colchester, CO4 3SQ, UK.

To register to attend this lunchtime seminar, or for more details, please email Victoria Nolan vlnolan@essex.ac.uk. The seminar will be held in the Institute for Social and Economic Research (ISER) seminar room (on the ground floor) – it is free of charge and a buffet lunch will be available from 13:00.

This lunchtime seminar will provide an essential overview of the Understanding Society survey and its content, data access, data structure and documentation. It will be of interest to anyone who is planning to access and use the new Understanding Society data for their research.

This seminar provides a fantastic opportunity to get to know the survey and the possibilities for research based on the Understanding Society data. It will be presented by Gundi Knies, a Senior Research Officer at ISER who has been closely involved with the Understanding Society project from the outset. This seminar is an opportunity not to be missed, to be one of the first to gain a detailed picture of the enormous research potential of this new dataset.

Understanding Society now includes the British Household Panel Survey (BHPS) sample, thus extending the analysis and research possibilities. Understanding Society greatly improves the range of longitudinal analyses that can be carried out given its larger sample size and its in-built design features such as data linkages and inclusion of an ethnic minority boost sample. For researchers using the BHPS, there is an Introduction to BHPS using Stata course being held at the University of Essex on 28th and 29th November.

Monday, 10 October 2011

Call for Proposals - Kauffman Firm Survey Data Extension - Data Matching

Deadline January 15, 2012

As the Kauffman Foundation nears the completion of its eight-year panel study on new firms in the United States, the Kauffman Firm Survey (KFS) www.kauffman.org/kfs, they are seeking interested scholars who would like to extend the core survey data in ways that do not increase the burden on survey respondents. While more than 6,000 variables are included in the confidential version of the KFS microdata, the Foundation recognizes that there are additional opportunities for research that become available by incorporating new sources of data to leverage the existing KFS survey information. Through this grant program we hope to accomplish the following:

* Expand the community of experts involved with the KFS to include scholars with expertise in natural language processing, web scraping, and related approaches;
* Create reusable infrastructure; and
* Use the prototype/demo infrastructure to evaluate the effectiveness of the approach-missingness, accuracy, utility-to expand our understanding of different approaches for matching to existing data sets.

Multiple projects are likely to be funded with individual project budgets up to $50,000 being preferred.

Full details available at www.kauffman.org/KFSProposals.

LFS/APS user meeting

The Labour Force Survey/Annual Population Survey user meeting has been arranged for Tuesday 6 December 2011 at the Royal Statistical Society, London.

This meeting, organised by the Economic and Social Data Service, will provide a forum for data users and producers to meet and discuss new developments and exchange information about the Labour Force Survey (LFS) and Annual Population Survey (APS).

The morning will include updates from the Office for National Statistics and the afternoon will consist of research papers which used the survey/s.

To view the programme and book a place please go to www.ccsr.ac.uk/esds/events/2011-12-06/

Friday, 7 October 2011

Housing and the Local Environment: Introductory guide to large-scale government survey data

ESDS Government has produced a new guide, Housing and the Local Environment: Introductory guide to large-scale government survey data. This guide gives an overview of the large-scale government survey data available via the Economic and Social Data Service (ESDS) on the theme of ‘Housing and the Local Environment’. The information provided is aimed at researchers who want to use microdata (generally individual or household level data) from the surveys covered by ESDS Government to carry out their own analyses. The guide is available from www.esds.ac.uk/government/resources/themeguides.asp

Changes to Quarterly Labour Force Survey ID variables

End User License data: http://www.esds.ac.uk/findingData/qlfs.asp

The new release of the QLFS data files for January-March 2011 contain new ID variables/numbers which are designed to improve the confidentiality of respondents, which has some impact on the way in which the data can be used. The new identifiers are:

CASENOP - ‘Case Identifier - pseudoanonymised’
HSERIALP - ‘Number uniquely identifies a household - pseudoanonymised’

These ID numbers are designed to permit users to link household members together, but not to link across waves to create their own longitudinal datasets (users who wish to do this should use the LFS longitudinal files). The household identifier (hserialp) is an identifier which starts at 1 and simply counts up. Common values of this variable across waves no longer indicate that the case is from the same household. The numbers are no longer based on administrative data, and many of these administrative variables have been removed for reasons of confidentiality. Accordingly, previous guidance on how to generate person and household identifiers from these administrative variables has been superceded. It should still be possible to combine datasets in order to increase sample size as variables indicating which wave of the survey the respondent is in and when the respondent entered are still present. However, it is no longer possible to check that individual cases have not been duplicated as a result of failures in the merge process. It is still possible to use the data to identify household membership using the hserialp variable. However, users are reminded that when undertaking household analysis the most suitable data for household level analysis or analyses which involve household context are the household LFS files. All future QLFS datasets will contain these two new identifier variables. A variable called QUOTAP is also available which is the ‘stint number where interview took place - pseudoanonymised’

QLFS April-June 2009-October-December 2010 - these data files contain a new ID number (IDREF) which preceded the new ID variables for the January-March 2011 dataset (see above). IDREF was designed to improve the confidentiality of respondents, which has some impact on the way in which the data can be used. IDREF does not allow linkage between quarters (nor do Casenop and HserialP – see notes above). Please note that there is no household identifier on these datasets.

QLFS 2001-2009 - there are no changes to the ID variables in these QLFS datafiles – they should contain the original QLFS identifier variables (caseno, add, quota etc).

Special Licence (SL) data: http://www.esds.ac.uk/findingData/qlfsSL.asp

All Special Licence QLFS datasets should still contain the original ID variables (caseno, add, quota etc) so they are not affected by the above changes.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Jobs at Luxembourg Income Study Organisation

LIS, a non-profit cross-national data center located in Luxembourg, is seeking applications for two additional staff persons.

LIS provides access to household- and person-level microdata to researchers interested in cross-national comparisons of income, employment, and wealth. Our microdata are made available through two cross-national databases, the Luxembourg Income Study (LIS) Database and the Luxembourg Wealth Study (LWS) Database.

The positions involve harmonising and documenting microdata in the areas of income, labour, demographics, and wealth, as well as contributing to the conceptual framework of harmonising cross-national microdata. All staff also participate in LIS training and pedagogical activities.

Applicants should submit a cover letter, curriculum vitae, and the names of three references (with contact information). Send applications via email (admin@lisdatacenter.org), or via postal mail:

Caroline de Tombeur
17, rue des Pommiers
L-2343 Luxembourg


Required background: Applicants should have an advanced university degree (Master’s degree or equivalent) in the social sciences, economics, statistics or a related field. A first-level university degree in combination with qualifying work experience may be accepted in place of an advanced degree.

Applicants should also have the following:

- substantial experience with microdata, especially producing or harmonising datasets
- substantial knowledge of a major statistical program, preferably Stata
- proficiency in English (the working language in the LIS office)

Priority will be given to applicants with work experience related to:
- income or consumption/expenditure data
- and/or labour market data
- and/or data on assets/wealth/debt
- and/or datasets from middle-income countries

Candidates with various levels of experience and seniority will be considered, and salary will be commensurate.

Review of applications will begin on 2 November, 2011. Applications will be considered until the positions are filled.

Monday, 3 October 2011

Change to General Lifestyle Survey - No more health questions

From the Royal Statistical Society website. For more information and links see http://www.rssenews.org.uk/articles/20110929_3

Health Survey for England statistics will be inferior to General Lifestyle Survey says the UK Statistics Authority

The decision by the Health and Social Care Information Centre to cease its contribution towards the costs of the Office of National Statistics' (ONS) General Lifestyle Survey (GLF) and use the Health Survey for England as an alternative survey vehicle "will not produce statistics consistent with those previously available, or to the same quality", the UK Statistics Authority has told Health Secretary Andrew Lansley.

In order to reduce expenditure by £300,000, the ONS will remove the questions on health and health determinants from the GLF from October 2011. Consequently, several long standing National Statistics series on smoking, drinking and the use of health services will end.

In its letter of acknowledgement to the Health Secretary (linked from RSS website), the Statistics Authority says it "will assess whatever new statistical series are created" in the place of these series in order to ensure that the standards of the Code of Practice for Official Statistics are met.

The letter explains the Authority's view "that the best way of collecting the statistics is the way in which they have until now been collected, via the GLF. Users of the existing GLF data have previously highlighted the importance of this source, citing its large sample size, the wide variety of variables it offers for explanatory analysis, and the ability to compare data across Great Britain. Although the Health Survey for England includes many of the health related questions from the GLF, it has a substantially smaller sample size, does not allow country level comparisons and does not include such a wide variety of variables for explanatory analysis."

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

British Crime Survey Consultation - Intimate Personal Violence questions

Last year the Home Office ran a split sample experiment to trial an alternative wording of questions relating to intimate personal violence (IPV). Results and analysis of the experiment can be found in the Home Office publication “Analysis of the 2010/11 British Crime Survey intimate personal violence split-sample experiment” available on the Home Office Website: http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/publications/science-research-statistics/research-statistics/crime-research/analysis-bcs-ipv-2011

The Home Office is currently in the process of a consultation regarding whether to proceed with the new questions, which seem to give us higher affirmative response rates, or the old questions, which would provide us with a longer term time series comparison.

Should you have any response to this consultation, please read the above linked document and pass your comments along with some details of your background interest to ravi.mulchandani@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk.

Child Benefit National and Official Statistics publications Consultation - two weeks left

HM Revenue & Customs is carrying out a formal review of their Child Benefit National and Official Statistics publications (http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/stats/child_benefit/menu.htm ). HMRC are carrying out the consultation to ensure the scope, format and content of their statistics remain suitable for the needs of users.

The survey can be found here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/child_benefit

HMRC would be grateful if you could spend 5-10 minutes of your time to provide them with the information above by completing the short questionnaire. The results will be published but all results and all views will be completely anonymous. The deadline for reply is 30th September.

Beyond 2011 Census programme

You may be aware that the UK Statistics Authority has stated that the 2011 Census is likely to be the last of its kind in the UK.

The ‘Beyond 2011’ Programme has been established by the Office for National Statistics to take a fresh look at different approaches that will meet future user needs as an alternative to running a Census in 2021. This work, which covers England and Wales, has the potential to completely change the way we produce population and socio-demographic statistics for decades to come.

If you are interested in receiving updates on the progress of the Beyond 2011 Programme, or being involved in the consultation process which will run from October to December 2011, please email beyond2011@ons.gsi.gov.uk.

2011 Census design workshops

To date, consultations on the design of 2011 Census Outputs have concentrated on the main statistical series of outputs. The 2011 Census design team are now planning to hold four workshops on more specialised products and services. These are:

Small populations - 24th October 2011
Analytical products - 25th October 2011
Origin and Destination outputs - 26th October 2011
Microdata - 14th November 2011

For more information, or if you interested in attending one or more of the events, please see:


Alternatively you can email: census.customerservices@ons.gsi.gov.uk

2011 Census homepage :-

2011 Census News and Events

Friday, 16 September 2011

Variable Labels for EU-SILC

Programmes to format variable labels in Stata for the EU Survey of Income and Living Conditions for both cross-sectional and longitudinal datasets for 2004-2008 have been made available on the RLAB data website http://rlab.lse.ac.uk/itsupport/data/rlabdata/default.asp

Millenium Cohort Survey 6 Consultation - Age 14 Sweep

7th October 2011, 10 am – 5 pm
Woburn House Conference Centre, 20 Tavistock Square. London, WC1H 9HQ

In 2015 the sixth wave of the Millenium Cohort Study will be carried out. The CLS would like to get your views on the priorities and possibilities for what data should be collected from and about the Study children at that point, when they will be aged around 14 years.

For more information on the consultation and why CLS think this is a particularly important point to collect as wide a range of views as possible, not only on what should be collected, but also where (e.g. at home or elsewhere), how (e.g. by personal interview, direct measures and assessments, web self-completion), and who from (e.g. Study members, their parents, others) please see the note on the CLS website http://www.cls.ioe.ac.uk/events.asp?section=000100010004&item=1129

Input from participants will be preceded by expert overviews from speakers including Paul Gregg, Jane Elliott and Mark Peters.

Whether or not you have actively used the Millennium Cohort Study previously, the study team would value your input.

Registration is free: Please contact Richard Bull (R.Bull@ioe.ac.uk), stating your first and second preference from the themes listed below.

• Education and aspirations
• Attitudes and activities
• Well-being: health and happiness
• Friends and networks
• Risk-taking and victimisation
• Biomeasures

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

INSPIRE for the social sciences workshop

when: 7 October 2011
where: UK Data Archive, University of Essex, Colchester.

The UK Data Archive and EDINA are hosting a workshop on the European INSPIRE Directive and how this directive matters for the social sciences.

The aim is to bring together academics, data providers and research councils to share what various people are currently doing regarding the INSPIRE Directive - in particular the Annex III data specifications - and to provide a platform to discuss what needs to be done in the near future.

The INSPIRE Directive aims to create an EU spatial data infrastructure to enable the sharing of environmental spatial data among public sector organisations and facilitate public access to spatial information across Europe. This will benefit the development and monitoring of environmental policy and practice in all Member States and across the European Community. Annex III data themes include social sciences domain data on human health and safety, utility and government services, and population distribution and demography.

For further details and to register, please visit http://www.data-archive.ac.uk/news-events/events.aspx?id=2951

This workshop is co-ordinated by the JISC-funded geospatial projects U•Geo and GECO.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

The School Workforce Census – Opportunities for Analysis

Tuesday, 27 September 2011, 5pm, at the Royal Statistical Society

The first full collection of the School Workforce Census (SWF) took place in November 2010; the Department for Education subsequently published data from this new source in April 2011. The SWF has been designed to be a single, annual exercise that collects detailed individual level information on school workforce members. Schools and local authorities extract the data from their own management information systems and share this with the Department. This new census has been designed to replace several existing collections and has resulted in more complete data of higher quality on the school workforce.

Officials from the DfE will discuss the issues and challenges involved in moving to this single data collection. Discussion will then turn to analyses undertaken on the SWF census for policy development and the scope for the wider research and statistical community to use this data. In particular, we will present a discussion of the way the new data complement established sources such as Vactrack to answer questions on how many teachers should be trained and how much should be spent on programmes such as the National Professional Qualification for Headship.

Tanya McCormack (Department for Education)
Louise Skelton (Department for Education)
John Howson (DataforEducation.info)

Attendance is free but pre-registration is encouraged. Meeting contact: Charles Lound (charles.lound@ons.gov.uk). For a map and directions see www.rss.org.uk/findus. We expect the meeting will finish by 6:30pm.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Call for Papers: Minimising and Handling Non-response in Sample Surveys

Iers College (Irish College), Leuven, Belgium
Thursday 8 and Friday 9 December 2011

There is a large amount of research on the topic of non-response in sample surveys, from a design as well as from an analysis point of view. This seminar, organised by Jaak Billiet and Gert Molenberghs focuses on practical measures, classical as well as innovative, to address such non-response.

The seminar will host a maximum of 25 participants and we invite the submission of abstracts for presentations addressing the above topics. Abstracts (of no more than 250 words) must be submitted no later than 30 September, 2011.

There is no fee for attending the seminar and participants’ accommodation and subsistence expenses will be covered by the QMSS 2 programme, provided that they come from or are working in one of the 19 countries that support the QMSS 2 programme.

Further details are available from the QMSS 2 website:


Thursday, 25 August 2011

Ethnic Minorities Biritish Election Study - a Research Workshop

Date: 19th September 2011
Venue: Institute for Social Change, University of Manchester

This ESRC sponsored research workshop is designed as an introduction to the new major dataset on political attitudes, behaviour and integration of ethnic minorities in Britain: Ethnic Minorities British Election Study 2010. This major new survey has been conducted following the last general election in May 2010 and was in the field simultaneously with the main British Election Study, with which it shares a core common questionnaire. As such, it is the largest and the only up to date source of comparison of political attitudes of British ethnic minorities with the white majority.

The workshop is designed specially to encourage and enable graduate students to use this data in their research. It is open to anyone with a research interest in ethnicity, the integration of ethnic minorities and the political attitudes of British Muslims, although graduate students will have priority if space is limited. The workshop will introduce the data, provide expert advice on the best ways to use and analyse it, and there will be an opportunity for the students to obtain expert feedback on their own research projects.

The event is free to attend and a small number of bursaries will be available to graduate students to cover travel costs to Manchester. This will be on a first come-first served basis.

Programme includes:

Introduction to EMBES - Prof Anthony Heath
How to analyse EMBES - Dr Stephen Fisher
Questions EMBES has already helped to answer - Dr Maria Sobolewska

Please e-mail Alexandra.mandich@manchester.ac.uk to register your attendance and get further details of the workshop. Please write on that e-mail, your Dept/ Course/ Year/ Dissertation Topic, and any diet restrictions. Alternatively please provide details of your organisation or company, and your interest in this subject area.

Monday, 22 August 2011

Consultation on Tax Credits and HMRC Official Statistics

HM Revenue & Customs are carrying out a formal review of our Tax Credits National and Official Statistics publications (http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/stats/personal-tax-credits/menu.htm).

Your views will enable HMRC to evaluate whether any changes are needed to their publications. They would like to know if other information would be useful to their users that is not currently available, or whether there are any areas of the statistics which you feel are irrelevant. There may also be issues with the format of the tables that need to be addressed, or presentational amendments that could be useful.

The survey can be found here: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/tax_credits

The survey should take 5-10 minutes of your time. The results will be published but all results and all views will be completely anonymous. The deadline for reply is 31st August.

Consultation on Statistics on Poverty

The UK Statistics Authority is currently assessing the following Statistics on Poverty, Benefit Take-Up and Household Resources produced by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP):

* Households Below Average Income;
* Income Related Benefits: Estimates of Take-Up;
* Family Resources Survey; and
* The Pensioners' Incomes Series

They would like to hear from any current and potential users of these statistics. Meeting users' needs is at the heart of the Code of Practice, and collecting user views is an important part of the assessment process.

Please see http://www.statisticsauthority.gov.uk/assessment/assessment/current-assessments/statistics-on-poverty--benefit-take-up-and-household-resources.html for more information.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Migration Data: Information and Resources

The Migration Observatory at the University of Oxford has developed a webpage providing 'user-friendly access to analysis of data on migrants and migration issues.

The site includes ready made charts and maps on migration in the UK, and (possibly of more interest to RLAB staff) a description of key data sources and their limitations.


Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Census 2011 Latest News

Over the past two years extensive consultations have taken place defining a range of 2011 Census products and services that will meet the needs of users; the most recent of which closed in April 2011. It was proposed in January 2011 that following this consultation a timetable for the release of outputs would be made available in May/June 2011. Whilst plans for Census outputs are progressing well, ONS need to ensure that any planned release timetable for the 2011 Census is both accurate and achievable. As a result a full release timetable will now be issued alongside a 2011 Census Prospectus in early 2012. In the meantime ONS will provide an agreed running order for 2011 Census outputs in July.

For further information on the release of information relating census outputs see :- http://www.ons.gov.uk/census/2011-census/produce-deliver-data/2011-census-outputs/index.html

View the latest news on the 2011 Census :- http://2011.census.gov.uk/
View further information regarding the background of the 2011 Census :- http://www.ons.gov.uk/census/2011-census/index.html

Thursday, 23 June 2011

ESDS International Seventh Annual Conference 2011 - Understanding the world: evidence and impact


Date: Monday 28 November 2011
Venue: Institute of Materials, London.

The theme of the 7th ESDS International Annual conference is 'Understanding the world: evidence and impact' and we are now looking for UK academics who have used ESDS International data to present their research. We would welcome submissions on the key issues and topics, set out in the Economic and Social Research Councils (ESRC's) strategic priorities (see


• Economic Performance and Sustainable Growth
• Influencing Behaviour and Informing Interventions
• Vibrant and Fair Society

Last years submissions included research on ‘Job insecurity and the local economic climate across Europe’, ‘World Electricity Cooperation' and ‘The Dynamic of Institutions and Economic Growth: The Asian Experience'.

Other speakers at the conference will include representatives from Inter Governmental Organisations such as the International Monetary Fund, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, the International Energy Agency and other publishers of international data. See our Annual Conference page at http://www.esds.ac.uk/international/news/conf.asp for links to previous conference programmes, reports and proceedings.

There is no need to write a paper specifically for the conference but any papers submitted will be published on the ESDS International website as conference proceedings. If you are interested, please send a title and brief abstract (max 200 words) to ESDS International at international@esds.ac.uk by the 31st August 2011.

Reasonable UK travel costs (i.e. standard class rail travel) for academic speakers will be reimbursed but we are unable to cover accommodation costs.

As a specialist data service of the ESRC/JISC funded Economic and Social Data Service, ESDS International provides the UK academic community with free access to the high quality socio-economic data sets produced by inter-governmental organisations such as the International Monetary Fund, the International Energy Agency, the United Nations and the World Bank. We also help users to locate and acquire international micro-level datasets, such as Eurobarometer, ISSP and the World Values Surveys.

For further information on the conference please contact the ESDS International Helpdesk at international@esds.ac.uk, tel: +44 (0)161 275 6109.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Resource on scales/instruments and harmonised questions used in UK surveys

The Survey Question Bank has recently added a resource on scales/instruments used in UK surveys: http://www.surveynet.ac.uk/sqb/scales/introduction.asp
and a resource promoting the Office for National Statistics's harmonised questions: http://www.surveynet.ac.uk/sqb/harmonisation/introduction.asp.

Funding to investigate the feasibility of a rolling census.

ESRC and ONS are inviting applications to investigate the feasibility of implementing a Rolling Census to provide population and wider socio-demographic statistics in the UK. Further information about the proposed study is currently being advertised on the ESRC website:


Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Managing and Sharing Data: Best Practice for Researchers

To support researchers in producing high quality research data for long-term use, the UK Data Archive has revised and expanded its popular and highly cited Managing and Sharing Data: best practice for researchers, first published in 2009.

The new third edition is 36 pages covering:

* why and how to share research data
* data management planning and costs
* formatting data
* storing data
* ethics and consent issues
* copyright strategies

These are augmented with a list of third-party references, 19 case studies that demonstrate best practice examples and a checklist to guide data management planning. A suite of more detailed online information on the UK Data Archive website complements this guide.

Like previous editions, the revised guide is free of charge to higher education researchers in the UK thanks to funding from the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC), the Rural Economy and Land Use (Relu) Programme and the UK Data Archive. JISC and Relu have joined the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) in officially endorsing the guide.

The guide is available online in PDF format http://www.data-archive.ac.uk/media/2894/managingsharing.pdf. Printed copies can be requested from comms@data-archive.ac.uk

Invitation to tender: Economic impact evaluation of ESDS

The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) is seeking to commission an exploratory evaluation study to assess the economic impact and benefits of its main research data infrastructure, the Economic and Social Data Service (ESDS). This study is also intended to further develop the ESRC's approach to economic impact evaluation.

The purpose of the evaluation will be to identify and assess economic impact by:

• applying economic valuation techniques where appropriate to derive a quantitative estimate of the economic benefits of ESDS data and services
• presenting the results of the economic assessment within the context of a broader qualitative analysis of the benefits of the ESDS
• conducting case studies of the impact generated by research based on ESDS data
• reflecting on the results and identifying best practice and lessons for:
               o maximising the benefits from research data infrastructure investments and
               o developing approaches for future economic impact evaluations

Further details and a copy of the full specification are available from Jonathan Smith at the Research Councils UK Shared Services Centre Ltd.: Jonathan.Smith@ssc.rcuk.ac.uk, 01235 446394

Reference PS110004
Submission deadline is Tuesday 14 June 2011 at 11.00am

Workshop on Respondent Driven Sampling


Date and Venue:  16 & 17 June, Institute of Education, London

The purpose of this conference is to bring together statisticians and survey methodologists developing Respondent Driven Sampling (RDS) with researchers using the method to survey immigrants. RDS utilizes social networks to find, survey, and develop inference on "hidden populations" like sex workers, drug users, and migrant workers. The method was introduced in 1997 and has since become widely used, yet RDS is often incorrectly implemented and the most recent statistical developments can take years to come into practice. Bringing together researchers using RDS methodology with leading statisticians and survey methodologists will further the aims of all three, by informing theory with practice and practice with the latest developments in statistical and methodological theory. The conference will also inform future applications of the method on migrant populations.

An international group of invited speakers include: Douglas Heckathorn, Simon Frost, Krista Gile, Matthew Salganik, Richard White, Peter Muhlau, Lisa Johnston, Andrew Cleary, Tetiana Saliuk, Guri Tyldum and Renee Luthra.

Registration: The workshop is free to researchers interested in RDS methodology, but space is limited. If you would like to attend, please email Renee Luthra: rrluthra@essex.ac.uk

This seminar has been organised under the auspices of the Centre for Longitudinal Studies (CLS) and the UK Longitudinal Studies Centre (ULSC). Support for the conference is also provided by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) through the Research Centre on Micro-Social Change (MiSoC) (award no. RES-518-28-001), and the Norface Migration Research Programme.

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Review of HMRC Tax Credits Publications

HM Revenue & Customs are carrying out a formal review of our Tax Credits National and Official Statistics publications (http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/stats/personal-tax-credits/menu.htm ).

The responses will help them to evaluate whether any changes are needed to the publications. HMRC would like to know if other information would be useful that is not currently available, or whether there are any areas of the statistics which you feel are irrelevant. There may also be issues with the format of the tables that need to be addressed, or presentational amendments that could be useful.

The survey can be found here: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/tax_credits  

The survey will take 5-10 minutes, and the results will be published but all results and all views will be completely anonymous. The deadline for reply is 31st August.

UK Census 2011 - Specification for the 2011 SARS

The specifications for the 2011 Sample of Anonymised Records have now been sent to the Census Offices and are available on the SARs website at www.ccsr.ac.uk/sars/2011/

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

New Geospatial Resource Centre

The Geospatial Data Preservation Resource Center, is a website aiming to help those responsible for producing and managing geospatial data learn about the latest approaches and tools available to facilitate long-term geospatial data preservation and access: 


The Web site provides descriptions and links for a variety of relevant resources, including education and training modules, useful tools and software, information on policies and standards for preserving geospatial data, and examples of successful preservation and associated benefits.

This first release of the Web site, which CIESIN will be enhancing over the next year, was developed as an element of the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program (NDIIPP) of the Library of Congress. CIESIN, the Center for International Earth Science Information Network, is a unit of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, based at the Lamont campus in Palisades, New York.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Looking after your research data: a workshop for trainers

Date: 22-23 September 2011 Location: UK Data Archive, University of Essex, Colchester

This workshop, hosted by the UK Data Archive, will showcase outputs from the Researcher Development Initiative (RDI) project Data Management and Sharing for Researchers Training.

The workshop is aimed at people who are tasked with training or teaching researchers - at all levels - in how to look after social research data, specifically UK-based lecturers, tutors, graduate teaching assistants and research support staff in universities, colleges and research organisations.

Over one and a half days, participants will work through a series of training modules covering the seven key areas of data management identified by the UK Data Archive.

The workshop is free as it is sponsored by the RDI project. We are also offering a limited number of travel and accommodation bursaries.

For further details, including programme and booking form, see


Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Data Management Costing Tool

The UK Data Archive has recently developed an activity-based data management costing tool for the social sciences. The pilot version has been made available for testing, and your feedback would be appreciated.

The tool and background information on how it was developed are available at: http://www.data-archive.ac.uk/create-manage/planning-for-sharing/costing

The UKDA is interested to know how useful and practical this simple tool would be for researchers and data managers when preparing research applications and/or data management plans. We also want your view on the tool's approach to costing data management, and suggestions for improvements and additions.

Feedback and comments can be sent to datasharing@data-archive.ac.uk until 20 May 2011.

The tool's approach is to measure the additional costs – above standard research procedures and practices – that are needed to make research data shareable beyond the primary research team. The tool is based on identifying all applicable data management activities and steps required to make data shareable, based on a data management checklist, then costing each activity in terms of people’s time or physical resources needed such as hardware or software.

The tool was developed as part of the Data Management Planning for ESRC Research Data-rich Investments project (DMP-ESRC), in collaboration with various researchers.

Thursday, 12 May 2011

Help! I’m an Accidental Government Information Librarian presents ... American FactFinder and Census 2010

The Government Resources Section of the North Carolina Library Association welcomes you to a series of webinars designed to help us all do better reference work by increasing our familiarity with government information resources, and by discovering the best strategies for navigating them.

In this third session we will be getting to know the new American FactFinder. The U.S. Census Bureau recently debuted a new interface for American FactFinder, its online database for distributing all data from its surveys. While the “legacy” interface is still available, it will be retired in September and the new interface will be the only option. Because the new interface is significantly different from the legacy one, users will want to begin familiarizing themselves with how it works. Enhancements will be made throughout the summer, so participants should expect a report on how it works right now and quirks to watch out for.

We will meet together for Session #3, online on Thursday, June 9, 2011 from 12:00 – 1:00 p.m. (EDT). Please RSVP for the Session by June 8 at 5:00 pm using this link: http://tinyurl.com/grs-session3

Technical requirements: We will be using collaborative software called Elluminate. It requires that you be able to download Java onto your computer, but you do not need any special software. After you RSVP, we will send you a link that you can use to test the software. If you have any questions, please contact Lynda Kellam (lmkellam@uncg.edu). You do not need a microphone as a chat system is available in the software, but you do need speakers or headphones.

The session will be recorded and made available after the live session, linked from the NCLA GRS web page.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Upcoming Book: Numeric Data Services and Sources for the General Reference Librarian

The proliferation of online access to social science statistical and numeric data sources, such as the U.S. Census Bureau’s American FactFinder, has lead to an increased interest in supporting these sources in academic libraries. Many large libraries have been able to devote staff to data services for years. Recently smaller academic libraries have recognized the need to provide numeric data services and support. This guidebook serves as a primer to developing and supporting social science statistical and numeric data sources in the academic library. It provides strategies for the establishment of data services and offers short descriptions of the essential sources of free and commercial social science statistical and numeric data. Finally, it discusses the future of numeric data services, including the integration of statistics and data into library instruction and the use of Web 2.0 tools to visualize data.

Readership: General reference librarians in small to medium-sized academic libraries, especially those working with Social Science, Government Information, or Business reference, as well as LIS graduate classes on Social Science, Data Services, or Government Documents Reference.

Authors: Lynda Kellam, Katharin Peter
Due out next month http://www.woodheadpublishing.com/en/book.aspx?bookID=2003&ChandosTitle=1

Please note this book is primarily aimed at US readers.

Extending survey measures to children: Experience from the British Crime Survey

10 May 2011, 5.00pm, at the Royal Statistical Society (Tea from 4.30pm)

The British Crime Survey is a sample survey of the population resident in households in England and Wales. It has been running for 30 years but until recently has been restricted to adults. Since January 2009 its coverage has been significantly extended to include children aged 10-15 years.

Development of survey measures – Katherine Grant, TNS-BMRB

Prior to extending the survey to children, TNS-BMRB carried out an extensive period of developing and testing. This included qualitative workshops with children to explore their experience and understanding of crime; cognitive testing and piloting of questions and an extended split-sample field trial. Lessons learned from this work will be shared and their implications discussed.

Estimating the levels of crime experienced by children – John Flatley

Applying existing legal definitions of offences to those incidents reported by children can result in minor incidents that are normal within the context of childhood behaviour and development being categorised as criminal. Conversely, too narrow a classification could omit incidents which while not being viewed as serious by some may inflict significant harm on victims. These issues are discussed together with options for presenting statistics which have been subject to a public consultation.

Attendance is free but pre-registration is recommended. You can register by email: meetings@rss.org.uk or by phone (020) 7638 8998. For a map and directions see www.rss.org.uk/findus . For further information contact John Flatley via john.flatley@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk .

How to set up and run a data service: the challenges of social science data

13th-14th October
UK Data Archive, Essex University

A once-a-year opportunity for data archivists to go behind the scenes and learn first hand from specialists at the UK Data Archive. Over two days participants will learn about the strategies and practices used in the Archive's daily work, with a focus on storing and sharing social science data, including microdata, aggregate, qualitative and historical data.

The Archive has over 40 years experience in selecting, ingesting, curating and providing access to data. We are a designated Place of Deposit for The National Archives and are internationally acknowledged experts in this field.

The Digital Preservation Coalition (DPC) will be supporting three fully funded scholarships to attend this workshop.

Further details including programme and booking: http://www.data-archive.ac.uk/news-events/events.aspx?id=2864

Thursday, 5 May 2011

New Additions to RLAB data Library

The British Household Panel Survey waves 1-18 has been added to the library.
The data for Understanding Society, Wave 1, Year 1, 2009 are now available in the library.

To access these data RLAB members should set up an 'end user license' with ESDS and contact the RLAB data manager for access.

For researchers who are not members of RLAB, these data are available for free for non-commercial research following registration with the Economic and Social Data Service.

ESDS     http://www.esds.ac.uk/
BHPS     http://www.esds.ac.uk/longitudinal/access/bhps/L33196.asp
USOC    http://www.esds.ac.uk/longitudinal/access/usoc/L33423.asp

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Two-day course on questionnaire design and measurement

This is a two-day course on questionnaire design and measurement, taught by Professor Jon A. Krosnick (Stanford University), running 5th and 6th of May at the LSE. The course is organized by the LSE’s Methodology Institute, Ipsos-MORI and the Department of Sociology at the University of Essex.

Further details can be found at: http://www2.lse.ac.uk/methodologyInstitute/newsEvents/Krosnick.aspx

The two-day course is free for LSE students and staff, £100 for non-LSE students, £200 for the public sector (including non-LSE University staff) and £400 for the private-sector.

Applications can be made at: https://eshop.lse.ac.uk/browse/extra_info.asp?compid=1&modid=2&prodid=71&deptid=212&catid=40

Surveys and questionnaires are a common way of gathering data in the social sciences. The structuring, wording and ordering of questions has traditionally been viewed as an art, not a science, best guided by intuition. But in recent years, it has become clear that this is an antiquated and even dangerous view that does not reflect the accumulation of knowledge throughout the social sciences about effective question-asking. Intuition often leads us astray in the questionnaire design field, as becomes clear when putting intuitions to the test via scientific evaluation. A large body of relevant scientific studies has now accumulated, and when taken together, the findings point to a series of formal rules for how best to design questions. Yet the vast majority of contemporary questionnaire design fails to follow these rules, because they are not yet widely understood. During the past 25 years, Jon Krosnick has been gathering up the huge body of evidence on optimal questionnaire design for this forthcoming book, The Handbook of Questionnaire Design. In this course, Dr. Krosnick will review the contents of the first half of the book.

The two-day course educates participants about the optimal techniques for questionnaire design, for guarding against measurement artifacts, and for analyzing data in order to overcome the biasing impact of such artifacts. The course will teach participants a new way of thinking about questionnaire design, rooted in psychology. By gaining insight into how respondents approach their tasks of interpreting questions, searching their memories for information, integrating that information into judgments, and expressing those judgments in words, workshop participants will begin to develop skills that will help them to mange design issues for which there are not yet formal rules. In addition to helping participants to design better questionnaires, the two-day course will also equip analysts of questionnaire data to look from a new perspective as they evaluate the meaning of their findings, knowing how measurement artifacts can lead them astray.