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Introduction to data and support services for Political Data Analysis


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Guest lecture on the University of Edinburgh School of Social and Political Science’s Introduction to Political Data Analysis course, 12 January 2016

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Introduction to data and support services for Political Data Analysis

  1. 1. Introduction to data and support services for Political Data Analysis Stuart Macdonald Associate Data Librarian IPDA, School of Social and Political Science University of Edinburgh 12 January, 2016
  2. 2. Outline  Background  Data Library consultancy  Political science data resources  UK Data Archive  Online data analysis  National statistical agencies  Upskilling  A data future!
  3. 3. Background  EDINA and Data Library (EDL) together are a division within Information Services (IS) of the University of Edinburgh.  EDINA is a Jisc centre for digital expertise providing national online resources for education and research.  The Data Library assists Edinburgh University users in the discovery, access, use and management of research datasets. Data Library forms part of the newly formed Research Data Service Data Library Services: EDINA:
  4. 4. What is a data library? A data library refers to both the content and the services that foster use of collections of numeric and/or geospatial data sets for secondary use in research. A data library is normally part of a larger institution (academic, scientific, medical, governmental, etc.) established to serve the data users of that organisation. The data library tends to house local data collections and provides access through various means (online or central server for download). A data library may also maintain subscriptions to licensed data products.
  5. 5. Data Library & consultancy  Finding… “I need to analyse some data for a project, but all I can find are published papers with tables and graphs, not the original data source.”  Accessing … “I’ve found the data I need, but I’m not sure how to gain access to it.”  Using … “I’ve got the data I need, but I’m not sure how to analyse it in my chosen software.”  Managing … “I have collected my own data and I’d like to document and preserve it and make it available to others.”  Reference interviews
  6. 6. Data Library resources  Large-scale social science survey data  Country and regional level time series data  Population and agricultural census data  Financial data  Data for mapping  Resources for teaching  Opening hours: 9.30am – 5.30pm (Tues, Weds,Thurs) Lower Ground Floor East, Main Library Tel.: 0131 651 1431 or 0131 651 1744 Email:
  7. 7. Data Library catalogue:
  8. 8. Scotland • Scottish Referendum Survey, 1997; Scottish Election Study, 1979 & 2007; Scottish Election Survey, 1997; Electoral Commission / ICM Scottish Elections Survey, 2003 – available from UKDA • Scottish Local Election Results, 1973-2003 (part of the British Local Election Database, 1889 – 2003) – available from UKDA • Scottish Politics - The almanac of Scottish elections and politics - contains detailed results for all Scottish Westminster elections since 1983, Scottish parliamentary elections since 1999 and European elections since 1979, along with information on by- elections, local government elections, referendum results - • Scottish Social Attitudes Survey, 1999 – 2013 – available via UKDA
  9. 9. United Kingdom • British Election Studies Information System (BESIS) - • British Election Study (BES) - • British Electoral Data, 1885-1949 - • – open data available from all central government departments and a number of other public sector bodies and local authorities • Electoral Commission - independent electoral watchdog and regulator of party and election finance - referendums • Ipsos MORI Research Archive - https://www.ipsos- • Populus - the official opinion pollster of The Times. Key topics covered include attitude towards British political parties, attitudes towards the European Union and EU constitution, and voting intentions and trends in UK elections -
  10. 10. International Comparative Study of Electoral Systems (CSES) - • collaborative program of research among election study teams from around the world • participating countries include a common module of survey questions in their post-election studies • resultant data are deposited along with voting, demographic, and spatial variables • merged into a single, free, public dataset for use in comparative study and analysis European Election and Referendum Database - provides election results on a regional level for European countries from 1990 until present. EERD publishes results from parliamentary elections, European Parliament elections, presidential elections, as well as EU-related referendums for a total of 35 European countries - International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA) - resources include the Voter Turnout Website which presents voter turnout figures for 171 independent states, covering national presidential and parliamentary elections since 1945 - World Bank Institute's (WDI) Governance program - links to a range of governance and anti- corruption databases including: Interactive Web Access to Worldwide Governance Research Indicators Dataset covering 212 countries.
  11. 11. UK Data Archive
  12. 12. UK Data Archive Founded in 1967 and based at the University of Essex ESRC / Jisc-funded Houses several thousand social science and humanities datasets Provides resource discovery and support for secondary use of quantitative and qualitative data in learning, teaching and research. More recently it has worked with environmental and medical data sources. Host to the UK Data Service which provides the following incorporated facilities: • History data Service • • Survey Resources Network (SRN) Question Bank • Secure Lab • Qualibank • Histpop
  13. 13. UK Data Service (UKDS) £17 million investment over 5 years Funded by ESRC – new service is structured to support researchers in academia, business, third sector and all levels of government Commenced 1 October 2012 – integrated elements of the data service infrastructure provided by ESRC, including UKDA A single point of access to economic and social data – free at the point of use for registered academic users Distributed service led by Univ. of Essex in collaboration with: Jisc Manchester, Cathie Marsh Centre for Census & Survey Research (Univ. of Manchester) School of Geography (Univ. of Leeds) Geography and Environment (Univ. of Southampton) EDINA (Univ. of Edinburgh) Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis (UCL)
  14. 14. UKDS features include: Data – free to download for academic purposes upon registration in formats conversant with statistical analysis packages, full/partial catalogue search, browse by subject, also links to major studies, new releases Support – finding data, online guides, learning and teaching resources, online data analysis tools (Nesstar, Qualibank, UKDS.Stat), external statistical sources, FAQ Resources – Online data browsing tools, metadata tools, qualitative tools Advice for managing, depositing, sharing research data - best practice for ESRC researchers and beyond, preservation guidelines News & Events – workshops, new data, publications (incl. good practice guides)
  15. 15. UKDS -
  16. 16. Key data –
  17. 17. Online data analysis
  18. 18. Nesstar -  A data exploration system providing access to a wide variety of social science datasets. Registered users can create simple online cross- tabulations, produce graphs, and download subsets of variables in a variety of formats.  Support for exploring data online using the ESDS Nesstar Catalogue -
  19. 19. UKDS.Stat - UKDS.Stat enables you to extract information from a range of large socio-economic international datasets. The interface hosts many features, including data downloading, animated time series charts, the ability to display data as choropleth maps, to save and share queries and to search across all datasets
  20. 20. Eurostat new chronos
  21. 21. UK Data Service Census Support -
  22. 22. Government data sources  National Records of Scotland (NRS) –  Scottish Census 2011 – Data Explorer –  Office for National Statistics (ONS) –  ONS Neighbourhood Statistics –  ONS Open Geography Portal  Scottish Neighbourhood Statistics (SNS) – (to be replaced soon by the Scottish Statistics website)  NISRA -  Welsh Government Statistics -  Data.Gov.UK -  Eurostat –
  23. 23. Upskilling
  24. 24. Applied Quantitative Methods Network (AQMeN) -  Original aim was to build capacity in the use of quantitative methods amongst Scotland’s social science community and beyond (2009-2012).  Funded by ESRC (2013-2016) AQMeN is a research centre and has three primary strands of research involving a multidisciplinary team of researchers from the UK and abroad : • Crime and victimisation • Education and social stratification • Urban segregation and inequality  AQMeN offer practical quantitative methods training on a range of techniques developed as part of their programme of research  Data Library host and manage the AQMeN website
  25. 25. Q-Step – Funded by the Nuffield Foundation, ESRC & HEFCE the Edinburgh Q-Step Centre is one of the only 15 universities in the UK chosen and funded to develop degree programmes and a series of other projects aimed to develop Quantitative Skills in the Social Sciences.
  26. 26. The Guardian Datastore has loads of examples of telling stories with data
  27. 27. OKF- School of Data -
  28. 28. A Data future “The ability to take data - to be able to understand it, to process it, to extract value from it, to visualise it, to communicate it –that’s going to be a hugely important skill in the next decades.” Hal Varian, Google’s chief economist. “Data is the new oil!” Clive Humby, Assoc. of National Advertisers Senior marketer’s summit, 2006 “The coolest thing to do with your data will be thought of by someone else” Rufus Pollock , Founder and President of Open Know edge Foundation Based on a slide by Marieke Guy, UKOLN
  29. 29. Ask us about data