UK Data Archive

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About the UK Data Archive


The UK Data Archive (UKDA) is a centre of expertise in data acquisition, preservation, dissemination and promotion and is curator of the largest collection of digital data in the social sciences and humanities in the UK. It is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) of the Higher Education Funding Councils and the University of Essex. Founded in 1967, it now houses several thousand datasets of interest to researchers in all sectors and from many different disciplines.

Access the Dataset

The Data Catalogue provides access to over 5000 computer-readable datasets for research and teaching purposes for many different disciplines.

Types of data

  • quantitative
    • micro data are the coded numerical responses to surveys with a separate record for each individual respondent
    • macro data are aggregate figures, for example country-level economic indicators
    • data formats include SPSS, Stata and tab delimited formats
  • qualitative
    • data include in-depth interviews, diaries, anthropological field notes and the complete answers to survey questions
    • data formats include Excel, Word and RTF
  • multimedia
    • a small number of datasets may include image files, such as photographs, and audio clips
  • non-digital material
    • paper media could include photographs, reports, questionnaires and transcriptions
    • analogue audio or audio-visual recordings

To analyse the data, users usually need to have access to the appropriate data analysis software, although a range of data are available to explore online, with the facility to produce online tabulations and charts.

The large majority of data are anonymised, unless otherwise specified in the relevant online catalogue records, and are therefore not suitable for genealogical users/family historians.

Sources of data

Over 200 new datasets are added each year and come from different sources, including:

  • official agencies - mainly central government
  • international statistical agencies
  • individual academics with research grants
  • market research agencies
  • historical sources
  • other data archives worldwide