Using administrative data on universities for research purposes

Organised by

University of Surrey


Dr Kieran Balloo and Dr Anesa Hosein




University of Surrey, GU2 7XH


Dr Kieran Balloo,


Session overview:

Administrative data are records about organisations that are collected for regulatory and evaluation purposes. In UK higher education, two of the main sources of administrative data about universities include the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) and the National Student Survey (NSS). Although not primarily collected for research purposes, both of these sources provide open data sets about the attitudes and demographics of students and staff in each university in the UK. Such information can be used alone for research purposes, but there is also considerable scope for linking these data to panel survey data to find out more about the impact of universities on longer-term outcomes for graduates and staff.

In this event, we will provide practical advice on: (1) How to locate and obtain various data from HESA and the NSS; (2) how to obtain appropriate licences for data use; and (3) how to make data linkages between HESA/NSS data and panel survey data. We will also present some case studies on how such data have been used for research purposes.


Event Presenters:

Dr Kieran Balloo is a Research Fellow at the University of Surrey. He is Co-Investigator and Project Coordinator of the Student Wellbeing & Life Outcomes Project. His research primarily focuses on educational transitions and the student experience.

Dr Anesa Hosein is a Senior Lecturer in Higher Education at the University of Surrey. She is the Principal Investigator and Project Leader of the Student Wellbeing & Life Outcomes Project. She has previously published high impact research from the Longitudinal Study of Young People in England (LSYPE, now Next Steps) on life outcomes (e.g. evidence used in Canadian funding policy).


Entry (no or almost no prior knowledge)



Website and registration




Panel survey, Cohort study, Analysis of official statistics, Analysis of administrative data, Data linkage

Related publications and presentations

Panel survey
Cohort study
Analysis of official statistics
Analysis of administrative data
Data linkage

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