FAQs

What data can I get from the UK Data Service?

Why use someone else’s data?

Can UK students get the data? And students outside the UK?

How do I get data?

What can I use the data for?

Do I need special software?

Do I need to reference or cite data in my work?

I have a particular topic I want to study: where do I start?

What data can I get from the UK Data Service?
We provide access to over 6,000 data collections including quantitative and qualitative data types.

Why use someone else’s data?
Using secondary data is much cheaper and faster than conducting your own survey or interviews. Our secondary data is high quality, fully documented and much of it allows you to make national comparisons and look at change over time.

But be aware that you must understand where the data have come from and how it was collected - all this is explained in the documentation that comes with the data.

Can UK students get the data? And students outside the UK?
Yes, almost all of our data is available to students in the UK and elsewhere. Some data collections are for UK higher education students and staff only.

How do I get data?
Most of the data can be downloaded or explored online after a quick registration.

What can I use the data for?
Your coursework, essays, dissertations, theses or writing a research paper.

Do I need special software?
Not necessarily. Much of our data can be accessed via online tools. Even raw survey data can be analysed using one of our online tools for simple things like finding cross-tabulations. See, for example:

Simple analyses of survey data can be conducted using Nesstar, but for fuller analysis, you need a stats package like SPSS, Stata or R.

Do I need to reference or cite data in my work?
Yes, you must always say where you got information from in all your work, and this includes data. The catalogue page for each dataset contains citation information.

I have a particular topic I want to study: where do I start?
You can search our catalogue for data that interests you or look at the thematic guides which link to a variety of collections and resources looking specifically at particular topics, including:

• Ageing
• Crime
• Education
• Environment and energy
• Ethnicity
• Health and health behaviour
• Housing and local environment
• Labour market

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