Identifying researcher learning needs to develop online training for UK researchers working with administrative data: CENTRIC training

Int J Popul Data Sci. 2022 Feb 2;7(1):1712. doi: 10.23889/ijpds.v6i1.1712. eCollection 2022.


Background: The use of administrative data in health and social science research continues to expand, with increased availability of data and interest from funders. Researchers, however, continue to experience delays in access, storage and sharing of administrative data. Training opportunities are limited and typically specific to individual data providers or focussed on the analytical aspects of working with administrative data. The CENTRIC study was funded by the Information Commissioners Office, with the aim of developing a broader training curriculum for researchers working with administrative data in the UK.

Methods: A mixed-methods design informed curriculum content, including surveys with researchers, focus group discussions with data providers and workshops with members of the public. Researchers were identified from relevant administrative data networks and invited to participate in an online survey identifying training needs. Data providers were approached with a request to input to a face-to-face or online meeting with two members of the research team about their experiences of working with researchers. Data were analysed within the broad framework of the interview schedule, free text responses in the survey were analysed thematically.

Results: 107 researchers responded to the online survey and four data providers participated in the focus groups. We identified five main themes, relating to research training needs for UK researchers working with administrative data: communication; timelines; changes & amendments; future-proofing applications; and, the availability of training and support. Data providers either provided additional evidence on these learning needs or ways to address identified challenges. Six modules were developed addressing these training needs. Quotes from the survey and focus groups are used anonymously in the online training modules.

Conclusion: The CENTRIC online training curriculum was launched in September 2020 and is available, free of charge for UK researchers. CENTRIC specifically addresses commonly identified training needs of researchers working with administrative data.

Keywords: administrative data; data access; routine data; training.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Communication*
  • Curriculum
  • Humans
  • Research Personnel*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United Kingdom