Scottish social survey data, past, present and future – does Scotland need its own data strategy?
Radical Statistics Group
The UK now has a National Data Strategy. In this paper we explore whether or not in addition Scotland needs its own specific data strategy. This paper is intended to be a ‘think piece’ or critical essay, the motivation being to encourage debate about Scottish social survey data. Post-devolution, with the emergence of new forms of governance and new institutional arrangements, the political desire to research Scotland in the 21st Century has been brought into sharper resolution. Social and economic life in Scotland shares both similarities and differences with life south of the border. It is important that these characteristics are correctly identified with empirical data rather than simply being assumed. Scotland is a small territory with a good social science tradition and a healthy research sector. There is an increasing amount of survey data collecting measures relating to social and economic life in Scotland. These include both United Kingdom or Great Britain based surveys with a Scottish component, and Scotland focussed surveys. In this paper we outline a number of key issues relating to Scottish social science data resources. We provide a number of critical recommendations for social science data collection in Scotland. Finally, we examine the potential benefits of a comprehensive data strategy.
This is the final version of the article. The article was first published in Radical Statistics by the Radical Statistics Group and is available online via the link in this record
Vol. 97, pp. 82 - 97