Creating new datasets

Administrative data research is still relatively new, and we are working to show how valuable it can be. One of the ways we are doing this is creating new data sets and exploring the potential different kinds of data have to offer.

New data for new insights

Under this theme we are focusing on the creation of new datasets (using data from present-day administrative records), either by enabling new linkages, or accessing newly available data. In doing so we aim to be as flexible as possible, responding to new opportunities that arise from data controllers’ appetite to share data (and what they expect to get from this), and to emerging needs or interests from policy makers in government and beyond. Currently areas being explored under this theme include: creation of a linked data set on veterans in Scotland; linkage of care workforce data to explore care in ageing Scotland; and various projects relating to data on homelessness.

Historical longitudinal data

Analysing administrative data across the complete lifespan of individuals has the potential to tell us a great deal about the impact factors from early in people’s lives have on their later lives. We aim to demonstrate the value of this approach by developing individual-level ‘longitudinal’ data to support the substantive programmes of research. Longitudinal data follows particular individuals over prolonged periods of time—often years or decades.

The aim is to promote innovation in methodological approaches in linking and coding, and run illustrative projects to show the quality of the data available. The opportunity to analyse complete-life histories of individuals from birth to death is crucial to understanding the mechanisms linking early and later life, supporting the current development of strategies for improving the outcomes of Scottish citizens.