Introduction to Data Linkage (Belfast)



Organised by:

ADRC-E/University of Southampton


Dr Katie Harron


Entry (no or almost no prior knowledge)



View in Google Maps  (BT7 1NN)


The Graduate School, Queen's University Belfast, University Road, Belfast


Course places are limited and registration by 29 August 2017 is strongly recommended

Course No. ADRCE-Training046 Harron

This course is organised by ADRC-E/University of Southampton

Short Summary of Course  

This short course is designed to give participants a practical introduction to data linkage and is aimed at researchers either intending to use data linkage themselves or to analyse linked data. Examples of the uses of data linkage, data preparation, methods for linkage (including deterministic and probabilistic approaches) and issues for the analysis of linked data are covered. The main focus of this course will be health data, although the concepts will apply to many other areas. This course includes a practical example involving data to be linked, to enable participants to put theory into practice.

Course Contents

The course covers:

  • Overview of data linkage (data linkage systems, benefits of data linkage, types of projects)
  • Overview of linkage methods (deterministic and probabilistic)
  • The linkage process (data preparation, blocking, classification)
  • Performing probabilistic linkage
  • Evaluating linkage quality (types of error, analysis of linked data)
  • Reporting analysis of linked data
  • Practical session using LinkPlus


Learning Outcomes

By the end of the course participants will:

  • Understand the background and theory of data linkage methods
  • Perform deterministic and probabilistic linkage
  • Evaluate the success of data linkage
  • Appropriately report analysis based on linked data


Computer Software and Computer workshops

This event includes computer workshops.

Participants will need to bring their own laptops with a Windows operating system (Macs will not work) with Excel, and LinkPlus software (freely available from


Dr Katie Harron

Katie is a Sir Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral fellow at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Katie is a statistician with research interests in using linkage of administrative data and electronic health records for improving maternal and child health. Her current research involves establishing how nationally representative, population-level administrative data can be used to identify and measure determinants of variation in service use and educational outcomes for children born preterm by linking information on maternal, household and social environments. Katie completed her PhD in Statistics at University College London. She is a co-editor of a Wiley commissioned book “Methodological developments in data linkage” with Prof Harvey Goldstein and Prof Chris Dibben.

Target Audience

The course is aimed at researchers who need to gain an understanding of data linkage techniques. The course provides an introduction to data linkage theory and methods for those who might be using linked data in their own work. Participants may be academic researchers in the social and health sciences or may work in government, survey agencies, official statistics, for charities or the private sector.

The course will start with registration and coffee at 9.30am with formal teaching starting at 9:45am and finishing at 4.30pm. Afterwards there will be an opportunity for participants to ask questions about the course and to discuss with the instructor how to link their own datasets (you can bring your own data to the course if you wish).


The course does not assume any prior knowledge of data linkage. Some experience of using Excel will be useful for the practical session.

You can find additional information on Data Linkage by Dr Harron at the following links:

  • ADRC-E podcast >
  • ADRN guide >



1. £30 - For UK registered postgraduate students
2. £60 – For staff at UK academic institutions, Research Council UK funded researchers, UK public sector staff and staff at UK registered charity organisations
3. £220 - For all other participants
4. Free Place for ADRC/ADRN/ADS staff
All fees include event materials, lunch, morning and afternoon tea. They do not include travel and accommodation costs.

Website and registration:


Northern Ireland


Longitudinal Research , Quality in Quantitative Research, Data linkage, Use of Administrative Sources

Related publications and presentations:

Longitudinal Research
Quality in Quantitative Research
Data linkage

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