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Introduction to the key large-scale government surveys Vanessa Higgins ESDS Government Centre for Census and Survey Research (CCSR) University of Manchester My mission… Intro to Economic and Social Data Service (ESDS) and how we can help you. Good quality data available to you

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introduction to the key large scale government surveys

Introduction to the key large-scale government surveys

Vanessa Higgins

ESDS Government

Centre for Census and Survey Research (CCSR)

University of Manchester

my mission
My mission…
  • Intro to Economic and Social Data Service (ESDS) and how we can help you.
  • Good quality data available to you
    • What there is
    • How it is can be used for research and teaching
  • Which is easy to get hold of, and to use
    • Registration
    • Access
    • Support services/resources
esds government
ESDS Government
  • One of four specialist services of ESDS. ESDS is a new national data service (since Jan 03)
    • ESDS Government
    • ESDS Longitudinal
    • ESDS Qualidata
    • ESDS International
  • ESDS Government provides access and user support for key large-scale government surveys such as Labour Force Survey and General Household Survey
  • Access remains via the UKDA
esds government some of the things we do
ESDS Government - some of the things we do!
  • Helpdesk
  • Online guides – SPSS, STATA, Employment Research, Health Research, Weighting
  • User Group seminars (data users and data creators)
  • Publications Database
  • Survey pages incl. how to get started
  • Teaching datasets
  • Training

http://www.esds.ac.uk/government

which surveys
Which surveys?
  • General Household Survey
  • Labour Force Survey
  • Health Survey for England/Wales/Scotland
  • British Crime Survey
  • Family Resources Survey
  • Expenditure and Food Survey (previously the National Food Survey and Family Expenditure Survey)
  • ONS Omnibus Survey
  • Survey of English Housing
  • British Social Attitudes
  • National Travel Survey
  • Time Use Survey
why use the data in research
Why use the data in research?
  • Free!
  • Wide range of topics
  • Good quality data with large samples
  • Continuous data allows comparison over time
  • Hierarchical data: many collect household info and individual data from everyone in household
    • Allows good description of household
    • Household context of an individual
    • Intra-household differences/similarities
  • Can be used in a variety of ways…
    • As sole source of data for straight secondary analysis
    • As context for a qualitative or locality study
quality of data 1
QUALITY OF DATA (1)
  • Two main data collectors:
    • Office for National Statistics (ONS)
    • NatCen
  • Both have considerable experience
    • ONS Social Surveys started in 1941
    • Natcen founded in 1969 (as SCPR)
  • Permanent panels of highly trained field interviewers
  • Management and Quality Checking
  • (Relatively) high response rates – but falling
  • Widespread use by secondary analysts
quality of documentation
QUALITY OF DOCUMENTATION
  • Questionnaire
  • Code book of Variables
  • Description of Derived Variables
  • Definitions
  • Methodology including
    • Sampling method
    • Response achieved
    • Population base
  • Published reports
using successive cross sectional data over time
Pros…

Reasonable amount of comparability

Can pool years/quarters

Data is representative at each time point

Good at looking at impacts on groups

Cons…

Limits to continuity in the data (e.g. ethnic)

Cannot establish individual change

Cannot look at dynamics

Unlikely to be able to look at individual process (e.g. modelling with predictor variable)

Using successive cross-sectional data over time
choosing a survey for research
Choosing a survey for research
  • Which surveys cover your main topic?
  • Which other topics are you interested in?
  • Measurement over time
  • Geography
  • Respondents – whole household, children?
  • Sample size
using the data in teaching
Using the data in teaching
  • Methods courses
    • Using the data in a hands on manner
    • Using substantive exemplars to demonstrate a methodological point
    • Using the surveys as methodological exemplars
  • Substantive courses
    • Making your point using data
    • Integrating methods into substantive courses
  • Teaching datasets
    • General Household Survey
    • Labour Force Survey
    • British Crime Survey
    • Health Survey for England (late 2004)
continuous population survey
Continuous Population Survey
  • Integrates LFS, GHS, EFS, OMN, APS into single survey:
    • Fieldwork begins January 2008 (provisional)
    • Annual achieved sample size = 265,000 households (over half a million adults) GB
    • Common coremodule of questions to whole sample

Topic modules to portions of sample

Core and topic modules combined to construct a number of different viable interview combinations

  • Advantages:
    • Improved reporting about the population inbetween Censuses at national, regional and sub-regional level
    • Gains in precision of estimates (bigger sample size and unclustered sample design)
    • Greater coherence in official statistics, fewer ‘competing estimates’ between surveys
summary so far
Summary so far…..
  • ESDS Government
  • Data: what is available, quality, how it can be used
  • Nature and quality of documentation from UKDA
  • Things to consider when choosing a survey for research
  • How you might use the data for teaching
  • Continuous Population Survey
how to get started
How to get started
  • Registration with ESDS
  • Downloading the datasets from UKDA
  • Exploring data with Nesstar
  • Useful resources
the question bank http qb soc surrey ac uk
The Question Bankhttp://qb.soc.surrey.ac.uk/
  • ESRC funded; Centre for Applied Social Surveys, University of Surrey
  • Holds questionnaires from 1991+, no data or survey reports
national statistics online www statistics gov uk
National Statistics Onlinewww.statistics.gov.uk
  • Obtain figures, download tables
  • Publications
  • News, data releases
  • Links to important documents, other websites
  • Other data - business stats, census etc
government department websites
Government department websites
  • Home Office
    • www.homeoffice.gov.uk
  • Department of Health
    • www.doh.gov.uk
summary
Summary:
  • ESDS website
    • www.esds.ac.uk
    • www.esds.ac.uk/government
  • UKDA website
    • www.data-archive.ac.uk
  • Register with ESDS
  • Access, explore and download datasets from UKDA
  • Obtain questionnaires from QB
  • National Statistics, Govt departments