Economic and Social Data Service
The Economic and Social Data Service (ESDS) is now the UK Data Service (UKDS)
The ESDS provides access and support for an extensive range of key economic and social data, both quantitative and qualitative, spanning many disciplines and themes. It includes a number of specialist data services that promote and encourage data usage in teaching and research.
ESDS is a distributed service, based on a collaboration between four centres of expertise:
- UK Data Archive (UKDA) based at the University of Essex
- Institute for Social and Economic Research (ISER) based at the University of Essex
- Manchester Information and Associated Services (MIMAS) based at the University of Manchester
- Cathie Marsh Centre for Census and Survey Research (CCSR) based at the University of Manchester.
About the Economic and Social Data Service
The overall direction and management for ESDS is the responsibility of the UKDA. The UKDA performs a broad strategic role and seeks to create a coherent publicity, promotion and outreach strategy for the whole service. ESDS is dedicated to supporting users of social and economic datasets for secondary analysis for research and teaching, from the novice researcher to the experienced data analyst.
- a helpdesk for general questions about finding, accessing and using data, including help with the most popular data handling and analysis software
- a series of online guides on ESDS services including dataset, thematic, software and statistical guides, and a programme of outreach and promotional events
- JISCmail lists informing users of forthcoming events, new data releases and new developments
- site representatives with contact details for locally-obtainable general advice and information
- downloadable tools.
ESDS acquires, processes, preserves and disseminates a range of data across the social sciences using four specialist data services. These are:
- ESDS Government: promotes and facilitates increased and more effective use of large-scale government surveys, such as the Labour Force Survey and Health Survey for England in research, learning, and teaching. Support covers methodological guides, short courses and support for key statistical packages. The service works closely with data producers and users to maximise the synergy between these groups.
- ESDS International: provides access to, and support for, a range of international, typically comparative datasets - both survey and aggregate sources. The central aims of the function are to promote and facilitate increased and more effective use of international datasets in research, learning, and teaching, across a range of disciplines.
- ESDS Longitudinal: supports a range of the key UK longitudinal data collections by creating data enhancements; providing user support and training; and promoting the increased use of longitudinal data.
- ESDS Qualidata: provides access to, and support for, a range of qualitative datasets, from classic studies from the 1960s and 70s to contemporary data. The service is responsible for generating a number of data enhancements, and for providing information and training resources that focus on strategies for re-analysing qualitative data.
How to access the data
ESDS provides advanced search and browse facilities including: searching by title, data creator, or keywords/variables; and browsing by subject category, major studies, and new releases.
All users can access study descriptions and online documentation, including questionnaires, free of charge and without registering. Access to data requires registration and uses the Athens authentication system. Registered users can also download and explore/analyse a large and growing number of datasets.