Getting started

The UK Data Service is open to students in secondary, further and higher education. You can browse our collection online and register with us to analyse and download them. Our Open Data collections are available for anyone to use.  

Explore data

You can explore our collection in several ways: 

  • Key data includes details of popular data collections by data type
  • Theme pages list data collections by theme
  • you can search 'Discover' using key words and topics

We have produced a guide on ways to get data to help you access the data we hold. A short video to accompany the guide shows the five main ways users can find data.

You can also try the worksheet 'Finding the right data for your research project'

How to access 

For many data collections, you need to register online before downloading the data. The registration is quick and easy and if you are a student or member of staff at a UK institution of higher or further education (UK HE/FE), you can register with us using the username and password issued to you by your institution. To start the process, click on 'Register'. 

Our increasing number of open data collections can be accessed without the need to register.

Our most sensitive and confidential data are not available to students. These collections can only be accessed though our Secure Lab by Approved Researchers. 

Explore online

We have tools for exploring data online including tools for survey data and international macrodata. For details, see explore online and our video guides.

Guides

We have a range of guides available to help you explore and make use of our data collection. Our Guides section gives access to the whole collection but below you can find a list of most useful guides for students. 

  • Using Survey Data shows you the steps for starting your own research project using survey data. This guide is designed for dissertation students but is suitable for anyone with little knowledge of quantitative research.

Quantitative data collections are best analysed using statistics packages such as SPSS, Stata or R. To help users, we have these concise guides:

Help

These pages provide useful information for browsing and using our data collection. However, if you encounter a problem, further help is available.

First, see our dedicated FAQs page for students.

There is also a Student forum (via Facebook login), for peer-to-peer support and information on using data in their research and learning. You can also get in touch with our helpdesk. 

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