Dawn Southgate, Head of Knowledge at CIM, shares with London members, useful gems of information about researching for accurate statistics and key websites that can provide the latest data. For more information, you can contact Dawn. email@example.com
We are used to sound bites and headline figures from research studies; they are quoted on a regular basis by journalists or published within market research reports. But returning to the original data can be imperative to get the true picture. Are you sure of the sample size, sure of the way the data was categorised or sure of where the data was collected? Many UK government statistics have over time been brought together into useful portals and I thought I would share a few of these with you.
The Neighbourhood statistics portal (www.neighbourhood.statistics.gov.uk) will allow you to find detailed statistics within specific geographical areas such as a postcode or town. You then need to select the type of area you need statistics for – this could be a local authority, a ward, a Health Authority or an Education Authority. The search then supplies you with datasets that match your criteria. When you carry out the selection you will find there is a wealth of data available.
You can also create a summary report of a neighbourhood by postcode. This will give you more information on the people, their health, the local economy, education, housing and crime.
Each authority will also publish data on their website.
Hertfordshire County Council (www.hertsdirect.org/your-local-data/) has a page on their website called Open Data where you can find links to census data, crime, economic profile, employment etc.
Not all councils signpost this data clearly but most do publish the data, although sometimes it is on a separate site. Buckinghamshire Business First (www.bbf.uk.com) creates a link between public policy and the business community in the county. Not only are there statistics but also supply assistance for start-ups, lists of businesses, trends and employment data.
The Health & Social Care Information Centre (www.hscic.gov.uk) has a full range of data sets that you can mine. It covers hospitals, mental health, adoption, IT Infrastructure and public health plus much more. The website also publishes standards and workforce information that includes numbers and salary surveys.
The Department for Education has a portal for data, research and statistics (www.education.gov.uk/researchandstatistics). Within this website there is a link to the Edubase public portal. This allows you to search for type of educational establishment and town and it will supply an interactive list that will let you drill down to a particular college or school and find contact information, location and school census data.
There are many other suppliers of primary data from trade associations, professional bodies, other world organisations such as UNESCO and OECD – just be sure you understand how the data was collected.