In this post, Dr Kakia Chatsiou describes her UKAJI project identifying sources of data held by central government departments.
By Kakia Chatsiou
One of the main priorities of UKAJI’s work has been to identify and develop strategies to tackle capacity constraints within administrative justice research in the UK. Integral to this is improving the knowledge and availability of information on administrative justice to researchers and other stakeholders. As part of that area of activity, I have been working with stakeholders to deliver a preliminary scoping study identifying relevant data sources across the public and private sectors and determining what is available and how it is collected, stored and made available, and how these sources might fulfil researchers’ need for data analysis and linkage.
When describing the levels of access of the various data sources, we have adopted the following classification:
- Open data sources: data sources freely available to download on the internet, with no limitation on access (i.e. no need for registration, application or fee requirement)
- Controlled Access Data Sources: data sources available to access, but with some limitations to access (e.g. registration needed, involves application process, there is a fee payable)
- Data sources without a clear pathway to access: data sources that exist but there are barriers to access (e.g. illegal to make available to researchers, not enough resources to extract data, data can be extracted but of very poor quality, public perception, risk averseness, data has been deleted).
Initially this work has focused on data resources available on administrative justice processes related to benefits, immigration and justice (courts and tribunals). These are key areas undergoing significant policy and legislative change, but many other areas also merit exploration of data sources held by central and local government.
Toolkit for researchers
The report will function as a toolkit or reference resource for researchers in the field of administrative justice which will help identify where to look for relevant data and what elements to take under consideration when using such data for research. It is anticipated that by providing an audit of available data sources, the report will inspire researchers not only to incorporate such data in their research but also to experiment with an area they might not have come across before. In addition, attempting to map what data can be accessed should help to identify gaps in availability of data for the domain of administrative justice and inform efforts to fill in these gaps.
The report is expected to be published on this website in April 2017, and comments on its inclusion are welcome.
About the author:
Dr Kakia Chatsiou is a Research Officer with the Catalyst Project, Department of Government, University of Essex.