Case study

Preparing for that final year project

Author: Richard Upward, University of Nottingham

Date: 4 August 2011

Type of case study: Teaching

Course title: Economic Data Analysis

Course type: Quantitative research methods

Level: Postgraduate

Teaching use

Richard Upward uses the British Household Panel Survey (BHPS) to teach Masters-level economic data analysis at the University of Nottingham. Dr. Upward points to the wide variety of data available in BHPS and its engaging subject matter as prime reasons for using the UK Data Service-hosted dataset.

‘[Another] reason for using the BHPS is the quality of the documentation is phenomenal, ‘says Upward, ‘[o]n the whole, you can always show the documentation to answer most of student questions.’ Because of the documentation provided by BHPS and other UK Data Service datasets, Upward sends students looking for their own data on UK Data Service to use in their final class project. He gives them a list of other websites where useful socio-economic websites can be found, (‘about 10,’ he says) ‘but almost all of them will end up going to UK Data Service’ because of the ease of use and familiarity he explains.

On the whole, Upward’s class is a basic introductory course, which covers the practical aspects of finding and gathering data as well as the applied econometrics used in analysing that data. The class combines a lecture with hands-on work with the BHPS in STATA, and covers econometrics concepts up through simple linear regression.

Upward has found his lecture notes and class structure in high demand from fellow lecturers, perhaps because of the applied economic angle it takes with the BHPS, and so far has shared his teaching experience with both co-authors and fellow teachers at Nottingham. These lecture notes are now also available on the UK Data Service website, bringing this economic take on the BHPS to a wider audience.

Data used

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