The Administrative Data Research Network was an ESRC-funded project that ran from October 2013 to July 2018. It is currently at the end of its funding cycle and is no longer taking applications. Administrative data research will be taken forward in a new project, which was launched at the end of 2018.

Visit the Administrative Data Research Partnership for further information. 

This archival website reflects the state of play at the end of the project in July 2018. All content has been frozen and may not be up to date.

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Administrative data

Research benefits

Linking administrative data can enable progressive social and economic research that really makes a positive difference by:

Methodology and outcomes

  • Providing evidence-based, up-to-date research which informs government policy
  • Measuring before and after impact of new policies
  • Identifying trends which demand action at an early stage by tracking changes over time
  • Enabling timely impact on more policies by achieving research more efficiently
  • Improving the quality and quantity of the information provided, and enable more useful research
  • Providing richer, deeper understanding across social challenges
  • Broader population representation than survey data alone
  • Understanding under-represented people who are otherwise be difficult to reach through other research methods.


Social responsibility

  • Instead of having many fragments of information, linked data collections create a broad picture across society, giving us greater understanding
  • Researchers can create profiles of social groups that need help, and their findings might overturn established views on how to tackle social problems
  • In-depth research over a large geographical area, with large sample sizes means greater accuracy – and the potential for highly informed government policy


Economical efficiency

  • Administrative data collections already exist, so there’s no extra cost for collecting the information
  • Administrative data are frequently collected in the same way over many years, and subject to departmental standards
  • The Network allows better use of under-used data resources
  • Administrative data collections are regularly updated
  • Researchers can use historical information to compare the same data over time to uncover trends
  • Administrative data collections tend to cover the whole population being studied
  • The collection process is not intrusive
  • The Network reduces the burden on people who respond to longitudinal and other surveys by linking administrative data to these other data collections.

Page last updated: 24/07/2018