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Secondary data . Case study: 2011 UK census. Topic: Geographical skills. Relevance: A-Level . Lesson aims. To understand what is meant by ‘secondary data’ To illustrate how and when secondary data can aid geographical research To outline the strengths and limitations of secondary data .
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Secondary data Case study: 2011 UK census Topic: Geographical skills Relevance: A-Level
Lesson aims • To understand what is meant by ‘secondary data’ • To illustrate how and when secondary data can aid geographical research • To outline the strengths and limitations of secondary data
Defining secondary data • Data that is collected by someone other than the user of that data • Includes: census data, housing records, attendance figures…
UK populationdistribution • The UK census gives us unique geographical insight • What does this map show in relation to population density? Data source: 2011 UK Census
True or false? • There are almost a million more women than men in the UK • Eden (a part of Cumbria) has the lowest population density in England and Wales • Manchester experienced the greatest percentage population growth outside London between 2001 and 2011 • Kensington and Chelsea is one of only four local authority areas in England and Wales to have a declining population size. • The number of households in Tower Hamlets rose by is 28% between 2001 and 2011
Using secondary data • Primary data collection is costly and labour intensive • Secondary data is often available in large quantities • Often used as background information before collecting primary data • Provides information about a time or place that a researcher cannot access
The UK census • Ever 10 years it is a count of the total population and records its characteristics, such as: • Age • Gender • Employment • Health • Housing • Transport
Scales of UK census • Data is geographically located, allowing spatial comparisons. • Countries (England, Wales, Scotland & Northern Ireland) • Regions (9 in total, e.g.: North East & West Midlands) • Counties (36 in total, e.g.: Essex, North Yorkshire) • Districts, boroughs and local authorities (local government) • Electoral Wards (average of 6,000 residents) • Lower Super Output Areas (average of 1,500 residents) • Output Areas (Average of 300 residents) Largest Smallest
UK census methodology • Carried out every 10 years since 1801, most recently in 2011 • Each household in the UK receives a questionnaire in the post. Submitted either online or by post. • Eastern European countries carry out interviews rather than questionnaires.
Using census data • Data helps us understand the UK population, which is always changing • It is used by government, businesses, academics and NGOs • Helps in large-scale planning, e.g.: • Population count helps govt. allows distribute funds to local authorities • Data on long-term illness and carers helps plan social services
Limitations of secondary data • Need to establish reliability and accuracy of data source • It only represents one moment in time • Not all people may be accounted for • People may not tell the truth • Data may be biased • Researchers rely on the questions asked by the original survey
Misleading data? = 1000 people • 176,632 people claimed to be ‘Jedi Knights’ in the 2011 UK census. This highlights possible limitations associated with self-defining categories
Defining religion • Question 20 on the 2011 UK census asked: ‘What is your religion’ • This is a voluntary question • By answering the closed question with ‘Any other religion’, participants are able to answer an open question and define their own religion
Your local area http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/interactive/2012/dec/13/census-2011-truth-where-you-live-interactive • Are there any surprising figures? • Can you explain some of the more major changes?
Plenary True • There are almost a million more women than men in the UK • Eden (a part of Cumbria) has the lowest population density in England and Wales • Manchester experienced the greatest percentage population growth outside London between 2001 and 2011 • Kensington and Chelsea is one of only four local authority areas in England and Wales to have a declining population size • The number of households in Tower Hamlets rose by is 28% between 2001 and 2011 True True True True
Plenary • Evaluate five claims made by the 2011 UK census on the previous slide • What explanations can we provide for each statement? Use your knowledge of: • Geographical processes • Limitations of secondary data
Geography in the News • This resource is available from: www.geographyinthenews.rgs.org • Visit for worksheets, teachers’ notes, videos and more…