Questions for data users

How to decide if data are suitable for your use

Nature of the data – data properties

  • How are the data collected?
  • Are they quantitative or qualitative?
  • What form do they take (e.g. price, population)?
  • What time period and frequency of collection?
  • What level of aggregation?
  • Are the data adjusted or in raw form?
  • What information is collected?

Data quality – fit for purpose

  • How well do the data match the concept you wish to measure?
  • Are the results reliable?
  • How representative are the data?
  • What are the levels of completeness, duplication and known sources of error?

Data processing and the provider – provenance

  • Who has collected and provided the data?
  • Is the organisation independent and authoritative?
  • What are the security arrangements governing access?
  • Do the data overlap with other similar sources and can they be compared?
  • What explanation about the data and commentary are given?

Public value of the data – value to society

  • What is the relevance of the data to public debate and private decisions?
  • How can you access the data?
  • What engagement occurs with users and bodies outside the data provider?
  • What burden is there on respondents?

Further information – guide to quality assuring data

Check out the toolkit on quality assuring administrative data.