The growing use of administrative data in the social sciences
The study aims to list and evaluate the theoretical and practical conditions and also the consequences of using administrative data in the social sciences. In this context, the first step is to summarize the factors that have fuelled the increased attention being given to administrative data gathering; secondly, we examine the nature of this type of data and compare it with data collected directly for research purposes. Next, we review the validity criteria pertaining to administrative data-based research, using illustrative examples. In addition, during the analysis we provide an overview of and also categorize the possibilities inherent in database linkage.
Keywords: administrative data, record linkage, validity, database, micro data
Péter Tibor Nagy
The social nature of old and new data
This study seeks to provide an explanation for three sub-problems. 1. The social determination of creation/the arising of “old-type” new historical data (for example determinative factors for excavations, etc.); 2. the social circumstances of creation/the arising of “new-type” new historical data (for example, historical medicine) 3. re-interpretation/re-structuring of old data (for example, the digitalisation of sources). There are two topics within this area of sub-problems: 1. how the new “data universe” (the internet) has changed the topics and methods utilized in research; 2. how academic communities have perceived and integrated the new data types and how the face of a community has become altered within this process. The first sub-problem is interpreted from a functionalist perspective, the second from a conflict-theoretical one.
Keywords: data, abundance of data, scientific classification, sociology of science, social conflict theory, functionalist theory, research methodology, digitalization
Data and data management in official statistics
From the perspective of producing statistical indicators of good quality, it is important to select the most appropriate data sources. This study presents data sources of different types which can be used in official statistical work as well as the areas of their application, going into detail regarding secondary data, with special attention being given to administrative data and its growing significance. The reader may get a detailed picture of conditions needing to be taken into account when using data of different types; while major emphasis is given to both Hungarian legislation and that of the European Union. Moreover, the qualitative criteria of the statistical product along with the data production process are also briefly mentioned, as well as data protection rules and also viewpoints that one should consider in the course of disclosure control. The study provides a broad overview of the functioning of the official statistical system and gives insight into the most important policies and guidelines defining the activities of the Hungarian Central Statistical Office.
Keywords: statistical data, secondary data, administrative data, statistical quality, statistical disclosure control
Public data and public databases: questions of access
Free access to public data is a basic value and fundamental right of a constitutional democracy, though it invariably generates both conflicts of interest and practical problems. This study presents the notions used in international and Hungarian law together with the limitations in their approach and, by analysing case studies, it devotes a separate section to discussing questions of ‘access free of charge’. The author presents several relevant technologies and applications supporting access to public data and databases, and he raises some less analysed issues relating to public data and database usage. Finally, the study briefly touches upon the educational potential of data abundance both from the students’ and the educators’ point of view.
Keywords: freedom of information, data of public interest, databases, access free of charge, technologies supporting access to public information
Governing by data – dilemmas and perspectives
This paper analyses the dilemmas and perspectives of governing by data and indicators in the education sector with a special focus being put on the policy coordination practices of the European Union and on the emerging European norm of evidence-based policy-making. It presents some of the most relevant issues related to the use of data and indicators as instruments of governance, exhibiting the advantages and the challenges underpinning this relatively new practice. Stressing the difference between facts and data, it presents the benefits of using facts as tools of political pressure and persuasion, revealing also the limitations of this practice. The paper makes reference to the new opportunities created by the emergence of big databases containing large quantities of micro level, longitudinal data.
Keywords: education policy, governance, governing by data, evidence-based policy, European Union, policy coordination, big data
Data accessibility in an international context
The study explores the possibilities of data accessibility and the practices of using data in an Anglo-Saxon (England) and in a Scandinavian country (Sweden). The paper tries to answer the following questions: (1) What are the purposes of data collection and indicator development? (2) What level and content of data are collected in order to attain goals? (3) What accessibility is provided regarding databases for stakeholders and publicity? Experience shows that besides budget planning and education administration aspects, research, development and assessment factors are also emphasized among data collection and indicator development aims. National data systems that have a unified set of principles and a history of data collection looking back several decades mainly gather individual-level data. So the opportunity – and the intent – to integrate anonymized data is given, though developed data systems do put great emphasis on the balance between data protection and data accessibility. All in all, creation and social acceptance of the principles of data collection and accessibility strengthen the aim-assigned and extensive use of data.
Keywords: data access, data collection, indicators, development, evaluation
The Data Revolution in public education
The data production revolution has not left untouched the area of education. This has caused newly-emerging complex data asset management systems that are fundamentally based on individual-level data instead of the surface abrasive statistical approach, and this is especially suitable when it comes to usage with direct pedagogical purposes: we can now obtain a level of detail regarding teaching-learning process effectiveness and also see the efficacy of typical data changes occurring over time, something which has never previously been possible.
The chance to do this additionally points to a responsibility along with the creation of data asset conditions and limitations for which the ability to determine outcomes is our most important task. Success is achieved when education applies a complex child- and learner-centred approach, which is an integral part of activity-based educators’ use of data assets – and this is supported by education experts and researchers from “outside”.
Keywords: data production, data assets, data network of relationships, primary data, individual-level data, utilization of data assets built on educational systems
Eszter Bogáromi – András Máth
The possibilities of data recovery, limitations, profits – presenting an example
The study demonstrates the process of using databases in a specific example, and our focus is on databases that are available from external sources. In its first part, we reveal the list of free and paid-for databases (used in research) as well as the range of public, administrative and one-line databases; and the section presents different periods of data collection, the basic units, variables and other characteristics. Also shown here is how one may proceed if a data set is not at one’s disposal. In our example, we make use of a self-created database that includes all settlements in Hungary – which initially required us to merge several databases, which was not an easy task as many pitfalls and difficulties were encountered. The study also presents some of the possible ’solutions’ regarding the way of proceeding and also the most useful results.
Keywords: settlement, data recovery, practical examples, Hungarian Central Statistical Office, TGI, database merging