Handling social science data: Challenges and responses

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"Handling social science data: Challenges and responses", Paul Lambert, 17th March 2010

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Handling social science data: Challenges and responses

  1. 1. Handling social science data: Challenges and responses Paul Lambert, University of Stirling DAMES research Node, www.dames.org.uk DIR workshop: Handling Social Science Data 17/MAR/2010
  2. 2. What is social science data? 17/MAR/2010 DIR workshop: Handling Social Science Data Example: Accessing surveys via UK Data Archive Shibboleth authentication Download and analyse in Stata, SPSS, etc
  3. 3. Principal forms of data… <ul><li>‘ Large and complex social surveys’ </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Longitudinal; cross-national; hierarchical </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Small scale social surveys </li></ul><ul><li>Administrative data (e.g. ADMIN node; ADLS; commercial data) </li></ul><ul><li>Supplementary (digital) data </li></ul><ul><ul><li>E.g. ‘GESDE’ services at DAMES </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Qualitative material – auido / video / textual </li></ul>17/MAR/2010 DIR workshop: Handling Social Science Data
  4. 4. Large and complex social surveys <ul><li>several thousand variables </li></ul><ul><li>tens of thousands of cases (micro-data) </li></ul><ul><li>additional complex survey data features (e.g. household clustering) </li></ul>17/MAR/2010 DIR workshop: Handling Social Science Data
  5. 5. Complex data example: British Household Panel Survey dataset [SN 5151] <ul><li>This example shows BHPS being analysed in Stata. BHPS re-contacts subjects annually (since 1991) </li></ul><ul><li>4294 interviewed as adults every year for 17 years. </li></ul><ul><li>Analysis methods, and measurement issues over time, are challenging. </li></ul>
  6. 6. Supplementary (digital) data <ul><li>E.g. ‘Occupational information resources’ = data files within information on occupations, which can be usefully linked to micro-data about occupations </li></ul><ul><li>e.g. GEODE acts as a </li></ul><ul><li>library of OIRs, </li></ul><ul><li>www.geode.stir.ac.uk </li></ul><ul><li>Such resources are often </li></ul><ul><li>not widely known about, </li></ul><ul><li>but have the ability to </li></ul><ul><li>enhance analysis </li></ul>17/MAR/2010 DIR workshop: Handling Social Science Data
  7. 7. Example: Qualitative data used by ‘Digital Records for e-Social Science’ (DReSS) <ul><li>transcribed talk </li></ul><ul><li>audio / video </li></ul><ul><li>digital records </li></ul><ul><li>system logs </li></ul><ul><li>location </li></ul>DIR workshop: Handling Social Science Data transcript code tree video system log 17/MAR/2010
  8. 8. Three well-known challenges <ul><li>We’re data rich, but analysts’ poor </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>UK Data Forum (2007); Wiles et al (2009) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Under-use of suitably complex statistical models </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Coordination and communication on data processing </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Recodes / Standardisation / harmonisation / documentation </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Not rewarded/incentivised to researchers </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Lack of generic/accessible representation of tasks </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Limited disciplinary/project/researcher cross-over when dealing with data </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Specific software orientations </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>These are not generally problems of scale, but of organisation </li></ul>17/MAR/2010 DIR workshop: Handling Social Science Data
  9. 9. ‘ Managed’ responses? <ul><li>Data handling/analysis capacity-building </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>ESRC programmes (NCRM, RDI, RMP); training workshops/materials; P/G funds; strategic research grant investment </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Documentation/replication policies </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Dale (2006) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Software for data access and analysis </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>NESSTAR – UK Data Archive data/metadata browser </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Long (2009) on the Stata software </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Remote access to data (e.g. SDS) </li></ul></ul></ul>17/MAR/2010 DIR workshop: Handling Social Science Data
  10. 10. ..train and/or constrain the analysts.. <ul><li>Train them -> </li></ul>17/MAR/2010 DIR workshop: Handling Social Science Data
  11. 11. ..constrain the analysis.. 17/MAR/2010 DIR workshop: Handling Social Science Data
  12. 12. Non-hierarchical responses? <ul><ul><li>Technological collaborative services might support effective, unmanaged data access, coordination and exploitation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>(in principle) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>UK e-Social Science investment in data oriented social science research support </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>NeISS; E-Stat; DAMES; Obesity e-Lab; CQeSS </li></ul></ul>17/MAR/2010 DIR workshop: Handling Social Science Data
  13. 13. ..some examples.. <ul><li>E-Stat @ </li></ul><ul><li>National e-Infrastructure for Social Simulation </li></ul><ul><li>Expert led simulation demonstrations </li></ul><ul><li>Combining data resources </li></ul><ul><li>Workflows for the simulation analysis </li></ul><ul><li>Modify and re-specify existing simulation templates </li></ul>17/MAR/2010 DIR workshop: Handling Social Science Data <ul><li>Design a tool to specify complex statistical models in generic / visual terms </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Multilevel models </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Multiple data permutations and analytical alternatives </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Ready access to a suite of complex modelling tools </li></ul>
  14. 14. DAMES – online services for data coordination/organisation <ul><li>Tools for handing variables in social science data </li></ul><ul><li>Recoding measures; standardisation / harmonisation; Linking; Curating </li></ul>17/MAR/2010 DIR workshop: Handling Social Science Data
  15. 15. GESDE – Search and browse supplementary data on occupations; educational qualifications; ethnicity 17/MAR/2010 DIR workshop: Handling Social Science Data
  16. 16. <ul><li>Data curation tool (for collecting metadata) </li></ul>17/MAR/2010 DIR workshop: Handling Social Science Data
  17. 17. Handling data: analysis-oriented data management priorities <ul><li>{Data collection or creation} </li></ul><ul><li>Data preservation or curation </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Data enhancement/modification </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Data analysis </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Multiple permutations of related analyses </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Documentation and replication </li></ul></ul></ul>17/MAR/2010 DIR workshop: Handling Social Science Data
  18. 18. Ideas on the future of social science research data <ul><li>Enduring challenges of documentation for replication, and coordination </li></ul><ul><li>More and more comparative analysis </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Harmonisation and standardisation </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Data linkage and data enhancement </li></ul><ul><li>Models for complex multiprocess systems </li></ul><ul><li>Fluency – increasing uptake by more users </li></ul>17/MAR/2010 DIR workshop: Handling Social Science Data
  19. 19. References and Links <ul><li>ADLS: http://www.adls.ac.uk/ </li></ul><ul><li>ADMIN Node: http://www.ncrm.ac.uk/about/organisation/Nodes/ADMIN/ </li></ul><ul><li>DAMES Node: http://www.dames.org.uk/ </li></ul><ul><li>DReSS: http://web.mac.com/andy.crabtree/NCeSS_Digital_Records_Node/ </li></ul><ul><li>Secure Data Service: http://securedata.ukda.ac.uk/ </li></ul><ul><li>UK Data Archive: http://www.data-archive.ac.uk/ </li></ul><ul><li>Dale, A. (2006). Quality Issues with Survey Research. International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 9(2), 143-158. </li></ul><ul><li>Long, J. S. (2009). The Workflow of Data Analysis Using Stata. Boca Raton: CRC Press. </li></ul><ul><li>Wiles, R., Bardsley, N., & Powell, J. L. (2009). Consultation on research needs in research methods in the UK social sciences. Southampton: University of Southampton / ESRC National Centre for Research Methods, and http://eprints.ncrm.ac.uk/810/ </li></ul>17/MAR/2010 DIR workshop: Handling Social Science Data

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