Working with Administrative Data
This one was inspired by a post by Kerry McCarthy on Better Evaluation.
Administrative data was defined by the UK Administrative Data Liaison service as:
“…information collected primarily for administrative (not research) purposes. This type of data is collected by government departments and other organisations for the purposes of registration, transaction and record keeping, usually during the delivery of a service.”
As with big data, there are many advantages of using administrative data for research, including the cost savings, regular updates, being able to link different datasets and capture populations who may not respond to a survey or other methods and identifying counterfactual and control groups after an intervention. And there are similar challenges, around access, data protection, missing data and other issues when data is not designed for the purpose for which it is used.