The Economic and Social Data Service: Investigating and locating policy studies relating to children and health


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A paper given by Anat Vernitski
Metadata and Resource Discovery Officer
ESDS at the ALISS 2010 conference Innovations in social policy information and research support.

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  • ESDS provides access and support for key economic and social data. It is distributed service, bringing together centres of expertise in data creation, dissemination, preservation and use
  • ESDS provides seamless and easier access to a range of disparate resources for UK Higher and Further Education sectors Built on a foundation of the UK Data Archive, which has been founded more than 40 years ago.
  • Micro data are the coded numerical responses to surveys with a separate record for each individual respondent Macro data are aggregate figures, for example country-level economic indicators Multimedia: a small number of datasets may include image files, such as photographs, and audio files The non-digital material include paper media could include photographs, reports, questionnaires and transcriptions, as well as analogue audio or audio-visual recordings
  • Main way to find data at ESDS is to search the catalogue. The catalogue supports searches using free text or using Boolean operators. You may search by time span as well. Data can be sorted by date or by relevance. Searching can also be restricted to a particular service, including ESDS services as well as additional data services.
  • We shall now look at ways to search for data to support researchers of health policy, with relevant examples, and then follow on with a look at data relevant to child welfare researchers. Using the catalogue search, there are several ways to discover health data: Browse by subject category will find studies where the main focus is health; major subject coverage, or otherwise using one or more sub-categories related to health.
  • Keyword search will find studies where the focus may be broader, but at least some questions/interview coverage will be on health related topics. More finely detailed topics within health are covered by narrower keywords; e.g. exercise, health behaviour, health policy, public health, family planning etc. The bulk of study-related documentation, such as questionnaires, technical reports, interview schedules etc. are made available in PDF format and linked from the online catalogue record, so that once you’ve found a study that interests you, you can read the documentation and see more detail about the data coverage, to determine whether it’s what you need.
  • Now we shall look at some ESDS resources for data relevant to researchers in child welfare. Using ESDS catalogue, these subject categories are useful for discovering relevant data.
  • These are some examples of the large-scale government surveys we support, which contain data relevant to health policy researchers. The advantages of using government data are: good quality data - produced by experienced research organisations UK/GB - usually nationally representative with large samples. Interviewers all over country good response rates well documented continuous data allows comparison over time data is largely cross-sectional hierarchical data individual and household intra-household differences household effects on individuals GLS and NFS are produced by government departments together with the Office of National Statistics. GLS is conducted annually and started in 1971, format has changed since. Data obtained by questionnaires. The focus is on housing, however health data is included, and allows analysis of factors affecting health and well-being. NFS was established in 1940 and has been, with changes of format, the longest-running continuous survey of household food consumption and expenditure in the world. EDSD has data since 1974. Households keep log-books.
  • These are some prominent examples of ESDS data series which give a longitudinal approach to researching child welfare
  • NCDS and BCS70 – conducted by the Centre for Longitudinal Studies at the Institute of Education in London. BCS70 - With each successive attempt, the scope of enquiry has broadened from a strictly medical focus at birth, to encompass physical and educational development at the age of five, physical, educational and social development at the ages of ten and sixteen, and physical, educational, social and economic development at 26 years. In addition, some sub-sample surveys have been carried out.
  • Millennium Cohort Study – will follow the lives of nearly 19000 babies.
  • Looking at cross-national data – macrodata, aggregated to country level and survey microdata, conducted in all EU countries. Young Lives: research conducted at the University of Oxford, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and the charity Save the Children. Looking at child welfare in Ethiopia, India, Peru and Vietnam.
  • Have a look at the ESDS International pages – details of registration and how to access the large-scale international databases, and support and guidance on cross-national microdata series. Have done some quite groundbreaking work to negotiate online access for academics to some of the large databases in their collection; have to register to access them, but largely free for non-commercial use.
  • Qualidata online enhances the support to users of qualitative data by providing a dedicated support helpdesk as well as a number of guides and learning & teaching materials
  • The Research Datasets catalogue provides access to survey datasets in their entirety whilst the Teaching Datasets catalogue provides access to samplers and subsets of data that are particularly suitable for teaching and learning purposes. Access to descriptive information and variable description frequencies is freely available to all users and does not require registration. Non-commercial users who are registered with the ESDS can also produce and download tabulations, analyses and graphical charts and can download data, including subsets. Some datasets include a 'Mapping variable' folder and, once added to a tabulation, these variables can be represented on a map of the UK.
  • Enhanced access to British Birth Cohort Studies data on the level of variables
  • The thematic guide on health is one of a range of resources on various topics. At the moment two of them are live, covering health, and crime and social order. In the pipeline are demographics and one specifically focused on research methods, too. They’re available on the ESDS website – see the link to the health one given here. They are a way of demonstrating how data resources can be used to inform and illustrate various research questions, using case studies. The guide gives pointers to relevant ESDS health collections, some of them specifically relevant to research in child welfare too, for example the British Birth Cohort studies (which we will look at in more detail later) and the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children which followed mothers since pregnancy in 1991 and 1992 throughout the children’s lives. Case studies are topical: Primatesta et al. (2001), for example, use the HSE to explore the relationship between smoking and blood pressure
  • Guides to using cross-national data to research child mortality The World Bank’s World Development Indicators contain global annual time series data on child and infant mortality for over 200 countries and 18 regional groups running from 1960 up until the latest available year. Eurostat New Cronos provides comparative time series data on infant and child mortality for European countries, regions, cities and urban zones. The UN Common Database contains tables that disaggregate child and infant deaths by gender and age, and can be used to examine the differences in child mortality rates between urban and rural areas.
  • The SQB provides access to the questionnaires, in PDF format, from a range of major UK and cross-national social surveys conducted, for the most part, since the mid-1990s. These questionnaires - which are fully searchable - are displayed in their original context, allowing users to better understand the context in which a particular question was asked. The History Data Service (HDS) collects, preserves, and promotes the use of digital resources, which result from or support historical research, learning and teaching. HDS provides access to historical data up to 1970, so useful for researchers looking at health or child welfare across history.
  • The Economic and Social Data Service: Investigating and locating policy studies relating to children and health

    1. 1. The Economic and Social Data Service: Investigating and locating policy studies relating to children and health Dr. Ana t Vernitski, UK Data Archive ALISS, London, 3 August 2010
    2. 2. ESDS overview <ul><li>national data archiving, dissemination and support service </li></ul><ul><li>jointly supported by: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Economic and Social Research Council </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Joint Information Systems Committee </li></ul></ul><ul><li>partners: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>UK Data Archive, Essex </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Manchester Information and Associated </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Services (MIMAS), Manchester </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cathie Marsh Centre for Census and </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Survey Research (CCSR), Manchester </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER), Essex </li></ul></ul>
    3. 3. ESDS overview
    4. 4. UK Data Archive <ul><li>ESDS partner </li></ul><ul><li>holds thousands of data collections for social </li></ul><ul><li>science research and teaching, quantitative and qualitative </li></ul><ul><li>internationally acknowledged experts in the areas of acquiring, curating and providing access to data. </li></ul><ul><li>designated Place of Deposit for The National Archives </li></ul>
    5. 5. UK Data Archive
    6. 6. Kinds of data ESDS provides access to <ul><li>quantitative </li></ul><ul><ul><li>micro data </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>macro data </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>data formats include SPSS, Stata and tab delimited formats </li></ul></ul><ul><li>qualitative </li></ul><ul><ul><li>data include in-depth interviews, diaries, anthropological field notes and the complete answers to survey questions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>data formats include Excel, Word and RTF </li></ul></ul><ul><li>multimedia </li></ul><ul><li>non-digital material </li></ul>
    7. 7. Finding data at ESDS <ul><li>specialist data services </li></ul><ul><ul><li>ESDS Government </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>ESDS International </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>ESDS Longitudinal </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>ESDS Qualidata </li></ul></ul><ul><li>also access to </li></ul><ul><ul><li>History Data Service </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>UK Census </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Rural Economy and Land Use </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Secure Data Service </li></ul></ul>
    8. 8. Searching the ESDS catalogue
    9. 9. Finding health data at ESDS <ul><li>search by major subject category ‘health’ (studies where main focus is health) </li></ul><ul><li>search by one or more sub-categories: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Accidents and injuries </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Childbearing, family planning and abortion </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Drug abuse, alcohol and smoking </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>General </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Health services and medical care </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Mental health </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Nutrition </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Physical fitness and exercise </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Specific diseases and medical conditions </li></ul></ul>
    10. 10. Finding health data at ESDS <ul><li>keyword search will find individual questions within a larger survey (e.g. ‘exercise’) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Keyword search uses he Humanities and Social Sciences Electronic Thesaurus (HASSET), developed in-house at the UK Data Archive </li></ul></ul><ul><li>documentation online </li></ul>
    11. 11. Finding child welfare data at ESDS <ul><li>search by major subject category which is relevant to child welfare </li></ul><ul><li>relevant subject categories include </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Health: Childbearing, family planning and abortion </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Education: contains a number of sub-categories </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Social stratification and groupings: Child development and child rearing </li></ul></ul>
    12. 12. ESDS Government health data <ul><li>resources for government quantitative data </li></ul><ul><ul><li>good quality data </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>continuous data </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>hierarchical data </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Health Survey for England/Wales/Scotland </li></ul><ul><ul><li>this is the 3 rd most popular ESDS Government data resource, as shown by user survey </li></ul></ul><ul><li>General Lifestyle Survey </li></ul><ul><li>National Food Survey </li></ul>
    13. 13. Quantitative child welfare data: longitudinal non government <ul><ul><li>British Birth Cohort studies: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>National Child Development Survey (NCDS) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>British Cohort Study 1970 (BCS70) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Millennium Cohort Study (MCS) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Families and Children Study (FACS) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Longitudinal Study of Young People in England (LSYPE) </li></ul></ul>
    14. 14. British Birth Cohort Studies <ul><li>impact of childhood conditions on later life and understanding children and families in the UK </li></ul><ul><li>National Child Development Study follows a cohort born in a single week in 1958 - data collected at birth & ages 7, 11, 16, 23, 33, 42 (7 Up TV series) </li></ul>
    15. 15. British Birth Cohort Studies <ul><li>1970 British Cohort Study follows a cohort born in a single week in 1970 - data collected around birth & ages 5, 10, 16, 26, 29 and most recently at age 34 </li></ul><ul><li>Millennium Cohort Study focuses on children born in 2000/ 2001 - first sweep at 9 months, second sweep at 3 years </li></ul><ul><li>wide range of social, economic, health, medical and psychological issues </li></ul>
    16. 16. Quantitative data: cross-national <ul><li>SN 5307: Young Lives: an International Study of Childhood Poverty: Rounds 1 and 2, 2002-2006 </li></ul><ul><li>supported by ESDS International: </li></ul>
    17. 17. ESDS International
    18. 18. ESDS Qualidata online searches selected interview transcripts Search for child and health
    19. 19. Transcript retrieved from 1960s Mothers and Daughters study
    20. 20. Accessing data <ul><li>download is to the user’s own computer </li></ul><ul><li>you first need to register using UK Federation (own institution’s username and password) </li></ul><ul><li>you agree to an End User Licence </li></ul><ul><li>you specify a project for which you’d like to use data </li></ul><ul><li>you download data selecting your desired format (SPSS, STATA, ASCII, RTF etc) </li></ul><ul><li>you get an idea of file size </li></ul>
    21. 21. NESSTAR <ul><li>Nesstar is the online data exploration system used to provide access to a wide variety of datasets held by ESDS. </li></ul><ul><li>all visitors to the ESDS Nesstar Catalogue can browse study metadata, variable frequencies and use the simple and advanced search options. </li></ul><ul><li>registered users can also create simple online cross-tabulations, produce graphs, and download subsets of variables in a variety of formats. </li></ul><ul><li>http:// </li></ul>
    22. 22. Nesstar frequency, BCS Birthweight
    23. 23. Nesstar table, BCS Birthweight by father’s social class
    24. 24. Nesstar graph, BCS
    25. 25. Health learning and teaching resources guide <ul><li>thematic guide to health data: </li></ul><ul><li>video guides: searching, downloading data </li></ul><ul><li>case studies: for example, using the Health Survey for England </li></ul>
    26. 26. Health learning and teaching resources guide <ul><li>guides to using cross-national data for research into child mortality </li></ul><ul><li>theme pages also include pointers to resources held at ESDS, such as useful datasets in the collection, and links to resources held elsewhere. </li></ul>
    27. 27. Thematic guide to health data
    28. 28. Other resources available through the UK Data Archive <ul><li>Survey Question Bank </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>History Data Service </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
    29. 29. ESDS contact <ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul>