Online Access to Quantitative Data Resources

Josephine Wathan, Louise Corti

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The provision of flexible online access to key quantitative data resources and supporting materials plays a prominent role in developing and supporting evidence-based research within the social sciences. Around the world there are a number of well-established disciplinary-based data services, like the UK Data Service and the US Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR). Using these two national data repositories as case studies, this chapter focuses upon the development and application of the standards, procedures, techniques, tools and resources required to make the most popular quantitative datasets available on-line to researchers for secondary analysis. Both data services have national remits that brings together expertise across a number of fields that make key national and international socio-economic datasets shareable, usable and sustainable. Data collections includes cross- sectional government surveys, longitudinal studies, time series data banks, administrative data sources and qualitative materials.

This chapter describes how these archives have established services designed to meet the data and information needs of today’s social science researchers and data analysts. Data acquisition and processing, quality assurance procedures; systematic resource discovery systems; value-added support materials; and web-based interfaces for data browsing, exploration and data download are all key features of this service. Using case studies, the chapter explores how data have been used and explores the potential of new and novel forms of data such as linking data sources.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe SAGE Handbook of Online Research Methods
EditorsNigel Fielding, Raymond Lee, Grant Blank
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherSage Publications Ltd
ISBN (Print) 9781473918788
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2017

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Cathie Marsh Institute


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