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Appendix 2: Evaluating Data Sources

Data sources can be evaluated using the following criteria, based on New Zealand’s Official Statistical System definitions of data quality (SNZ 2007) and ONS (2008).


Relevance

  • What is the concept being measured?
  • Is the concept clearly defined, and by whom?
  • Why do we want to measure it?
  • Is the concept likely to change?
  • Who are the key users, and how does this concept relate to their needs?
  • How well do the available data fit the concept?

Accuracy

  • What is the proportional coverage of the available data?
  • How are missing data dealt with what is the impact on the estimates?

If sample survey

  • What is the sample frame and how does it fit the population of interest?
  • What is the sample size?
  • What is the response rate?
  • How is the population parameter established?
  • What is the estimated sampling error?

If administrative data

  • Are there concerns about completeness?
  • How well does the original collection purpose fit the current concept?
  • How likely are distortions from changing definitions over time or incentives on improving completeness of data recording?

Timeliness

  • What is the time lag from reference date to supply?
  • What time periods are the data available for?
  • Are the data punctual?
  • What additional data would be required to forecast as required to match other sources?

Accessibility

  • Are data available for the whole country? Are the definitions consistent?
  • Are data available for a back series?
  • Is the source expected to be available in the future?
  • Are the data readily available?

Coherence/Consistency

  • Are other data available for the same concept? Do they have the same story?

Interpretability

  • What metadata are available to help interpret the data?
  • Are there current or expected changes in definitions or methodology within the time series?
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