Data Matters series | UNB

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College of Extended Learning

Data Matters: Applying Administrative Data to Research and Policy

A group of professionals around a table working

Administrative data can be powerful.
Let us help you get the most out of it.

What is administrative data?

Administrative data includes information on large populations, covers long periods, and can be linked with many other forms of data, making it one of the best resources available to inform programs and policies that directly impact populations.

Why should you care about using it?

Administrative data can be used to complement or replace survey data, reduce response burden costs, make statistical operations more efficient, and improve data quality and timeliness. It enables you to gather and analyze data about Canadian society, the economy, and the environment and provides data that will help decision-making in these areas.

The bottom line...

  • Administrative data saves you time and money;
  • It helps you get more accurate data;
  • It gives you access to large sample sizes without the expense;
  • And it allows you to better help others.

About Data Matters

Data Matters is a new series that consists of four short online courses that will help you get comfortable working with administrative data. It is offered in partnership between UNB and the New Brunswick Institute for Research, Data and Training (NB-IRDT).

  • The program is completely online, asynchronous, and self-paced
  • Each course only requires 10 hours of your time
  • No assessments or marks but there are optional reflective activities
  • Affordable pricing—$328 for all courses or $82 per course

How do I register?

You have choices! You can take all four courses as a bundle to get a certificate of completion OR you can take one or two courses to get the specific knowledge and skills you need.

Register for the bundle now!

Explore the courses

This course provides an introduction to administrative data – what it is and how it can be used to inform decisions and reach conclusions through research. It also covers some of the basic research tools available for working with administrative data, introducing learners to data sets, research questions, and models for continuous improvement.

Register for PRO 0002

This course provides an introduction to the principles of privacy and confidentiality as they relate to research using population (or administrative) data. It covers best practices in data privacy, potential sources of bias and ethical concerns in research, and safeguards to ensure data stewards comply with privacy policies, legislation, and regulations.

Register for PRO 0003

This course provides an overview of the various stages of the research process, with a focus on research using administrative data. It takes learners through the processes of developing a research question, choosing a research methodology, accessing administrative data, analyzing administrative data, and interpreting research results.

Register for PRO 0004

This course introduces readers to the important role administrative data can play in the development and evaluation of public policy. It covers, more broadly, what public policy is, why it is important, and how researchers can effectively communicate their results to inform public policy.

Register for PRO 0005

Still not convinced?

Check out these handy graphics we created that show the possible uses of administrative data!

Scenario one: Reforming workplace efficiencies

City staff found a persistent problem with recycling collection schedules. Using administrative data, patterns and inconsistencies were found in collection routes. An optimized schedule was created based on historical data and real-time tracking, which resulted in improved collection efficiency and cleanliness.

Scenario two: Improving regulations using data

Environmentalists decided to use administrative data to tackle river pollution. Analyzing data on industrial waste and water quality, a proposal was created requesting stricter regulations and sustainable practices for key industries. The proposal was adopted, leading to improved water quality.

Scenario three: Supporting and enhancing inclusivity

Government staff noticed some parks were underused, while others were overcrowded. Using administrative data on park attendance, maintenance, and community feedback, they created an action plan to add amenities based on community preferences. This was approved, leading to more inclusive and enjoyable spaces across the city.

Scenario four: Establishing equity in schools

A public educator noticed disparities in school resources. Using administrative data, they found a correlation between funding levels and academic outcomes. A more equitable distribution of resources based on individual school needs was implemented, resulting in improved academic experiences citywide.

Scenario five: Utilizing enhanced safety strategies

A city employee used administrative data to address rising petty crimes. Analyzing crime reports and patrol data, they proposed a dynamic patrol strategy and community outreach program. The data-driven approach was adopted by the local police, resulting in a noticeable reduction in crimes and increased community safety.