Administrative data linking: why not?

Convenor: Dr Paula Devine
Affiliation: ARK, Queen's University Belfast

Session Details

The linking of survey and administrative data is an exciting development within survey research. It provides opportunities to learn more about our population and society in ways that were previously unimaginable. Unsurprisingly, analysts have spent much time developing anonymisation, linking and statistical techniques to exploit these data.

However, the linking of administrative and survey data is not a problem-free process, since it takes place within specific political, social and cultural contexts. Thus, this session will explicitly focus on the ethical and governance issues related to data linkage and sharing.

Papers of interest in this session may explore:
• Ethical issues relating to the linking of survey and administrative data;
• Public knowledge and understanding of public and private data;
• Public understanding of, and support for, data linkage;
• Governance arrangements for data linking, and examples of good or bad practice;
• Case studies of research based on linked survey and administrative data, highlighting ethical and governance lessons for others embarking on this process.

Papers focusing solely on the methodological and statistical issues involved in administrative data research are directed to other sessions.