Microdata for data linkage

Microdata for data linkage

Microdata for data linkage

AEDC Microdata can be used for data linkage projects. Data linkage (also called data integration) is the process of matching two or more datasets for the purpose of analysis and comparative research. AEDC data can be linked to other datasets specifically for statistical, research and policy purposes.

Linking existing datasets leverages more information than individual datasets, and has the potential to:

  • provide new insights for policy, highlighting key issues for government response
  • provide information on the short and long term impacts of policy across Australian businesses, population groups and geographic areas
  • assist in costing new government based programmes and in simulating the impact of changes in policy parameters in government programmes.

In addition, linked datasets provide public benefits in terms of an expanded range of official statistics, improved research, and a better informed community.

Factors to consider when applying for data linkage

  • When requesting AEDC data for linkage purposes, Data Users must submit an application to the AEDC and the linkage agency.
  • Request only those data elements that are required to directly answer the key research aims or questions.
  • Consider the number of demographic data elements requested and if they are all essential.
  • Determine the most relevant level of geography or spatial disaggregation relevant to the research.
  • Ensure that the selected data linkage agency can undertake the linkage required for the proposed study, and whether the linkage agency has been approved by the AEDC. Details of AEDC approved data linkage agencies ​can be found on the website.
  • Contact the nominated ​linkage agency to find out about their linkage charges, as AEDC fees are exclusive of ​linkage agency charges.  

Applying for data linkage

The AEDC Microdata for data linkage Application Form contains the data variables available to Data Users. If applicants have any questions, particularly if a required data variable is not listed, they should contact AEDC Support before completing the application form.

Data linkage applications follow this process:

  1. Applicant contacts AEDC Support to ensure the project is within the scope of acceptable research uses of AEDC, and that AEDC data is suitable to address the aim of the project and any associated research questions.
  2. Applicant begins to complete the application form. Where necessary, the Data User will be supported throughout the process to ensure all pre-application conditions, such as ethics approvals, are gained or in train prior to a new application being submitted for assessment.
  3. Applicant submits application for compliance checks and review. Non-compliant applications will be returned to the Data User for further work.
  4. Once compliant, an in-depth assessment of the application will be undertaken to ensure it meets the requirements outlined in the AEDC Data Guidelines and identify if any additional information is required
  5. Subject to the application’s risk assessment, one of the following pathways will apply. If the application is considered:
    1. ‘Low Risk’ or ‘Medium risk’: Data User will be notified, and application will move to the move to next stage.
    2. ‘High risk’: Application will be sent to the Department to make a final decision.
  6. If the application is approved and the invoice has been paid, the Data Linkage Unit (DLU) is informed of approval, and AEDC content variables are added to the linkage file from the linkage agency. Following risk assessments and quality checks, the file is then released to the applicant. If the application is not approved at ​the review stage, it will either be returned to the Data User for further work, or it will be declined in full.
  7. A copy of the Microdata file(s) and supporting documentation will be released to the Data User.