Online training


Online training
BYO computer, your house, your address


14 Jun 2021


9:30 am - 2:00 pm

Linking administrative datasets: The Ministry of Justice Data First project for linking criminal courts’ data

This Advanced Quantitative Methods training is open to all ESRC and non-ESRC funded students within the seven WRDTP partner institutions. Students are welcome from all seven interdisciplinary Pathways.

Administrative data refer to records organisations keep about their operations usually for non-statistical or research purposes. Linked administrative data whereby data on individuals are merged from different administrative databases are opening new opportunities for research. This workshop will introduce the Data First programme, one of ADR UK’s (Administrative Data Research UK) flagship programmes of work on crime and justice, led by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ), and overview its potential for criminological and criminal justice research in England and Wales. Linked data from civil justice, family justice, the Crown Courts and magistrates’ courts will: enable researchers to generate robust and independent evidence of what works and for whom in the justice domain. Such research-led knowledge would then enhance evidence-based policymaking.

Following a brief introduction to the Data First programme, the workshop will cover the following themes: administrative data linking methodology, Splink, and ethical choices; time periods and variables within the already available in the ONS Secure Research Service (SRS) de-identified datasets: Magistrates court data, Crown court data and a linking dataset; and how to apply for secure access to data. It will conclude with a discussion of potential research questions and topics that may be supported by Data First datasets.

The last part of the workshop will rely on synthetic (fake) datasets to demonstrate the features of Magistrates and Crown court datasets with examples of research questions they can support. These synthetic datasets, available from upon request, are completely fictitious and their analysis gives meaningless findings. Workshop participants would be required to have received these synthetic Magistrates and Crown court data in advance.

Aims of the workshop/ students will gain

  • Awareness of the MoJ Data First project, research opportunities, data access and avenues for researchers’
    input into policy-informing evidence
  • Learning about administrative data linkage methodology
  • Familiarising with open-source software Splink
  • Familiarising with the variables within the criminal courts datasets via the use of fake datasets
  • Testing the feasibility of research ideas using the Data First criminal justice datasets
  • Exploratory statistical techniques

PLEASE NOTE: Attendees should familiarise themselves with the following before attending this training:

ADR UK Data First overview;

MoJ Areas of Research Interest;

Data First User Guide;

Splink Guide.

The synthetic (fake) datasets to be used will be provided to registered students by 11 June, 5pm. Please note these datasets are completely fictitious and their analysis gives meaningless findings and is only appropriate for demonstrations.

Students should download SPSS prior to the course – please contact the WRDTP training team if you have difficulty finding or downloading this.

This training session will be delivered via Blackboard Collaborate. 

PLEASE NOTE: Our online training sessions will be recorded and will be available on the VIRE in an edited format for those students who cannot attend. If you wish to join this session but do not wish for your contributions to be included in the edited VIRE resource, please ensure that you select NO when prompted in the online booking form regarding recording.

Hourly Schedule


9.30am - 10.10am
Introduction to the topic
Andromachi Tseloni, Professor of Quantitative Criminology, Nottingham Trent University
10.10am - 10.30am
Jose Pina Sanchez, Associate Professor in Quantitative Criminology, University of Leeds
10.30am - 11.00am
11.00am - 12.00pm
Data Linking Methodology
Robin Linacre, Internal Data Linking Data First programme, Ministry of Justice
12.00pm - 1.00pm
Lunch Break
1.00pm - 2.00pm
Criminal courts fake datasets workshop and Closing
Andromachi Tseloni, Professor of Quantitative Criminology, Nottingham Trent University