By Kimberley Hall
My interest in research and statistics started during my degree in Sociology and Social Research, where I developed my skills in statistics and learnt vital statistical software skills along the way. I took an interesting path after my degree, veering off into market research for a couple of years. But, knowing that I wanted to focus on statistics, I joined the Office for National Statistics in 2011.
I have been part of the Beyond 2011 Programme since joining ONS. This initiative is taking a fresh look at options for the production of population and small area socio-demographic statistics for England and Wales. Beyond 2011 is considering a range of options including a census and administrative data solutions.
My role involves assessing administrative data sources, through the use of statistical techniques including regression and hypothesis testing, to determine their suitability for producing population estimates. Results from these tests are then displayed in different ways to show how well each method performs in counting the population—from the humble bar graph to the Choropleth map(my personal favourite). Visually displaying the data illustrates which areas are performing well and which areas will need further investigation.
The further investigation of the data is the best part of my job. It is so fascinating learning about the demographic characteristics of areas across England and Wales and how these characteristics can affect the performance of the trial population estimates.
My work and that of the Beyond 2011 Programme is looking at new ways of meeting users’ requirements by making better use of data from administrative sources. This has created many new technical and operational challenges not least are those associated with making use of such data without a population register and using anonymised data linking and matching. The methods we are developing are ground-breaking and as a result have generated considerable interest from experts in other national statistical organizations.
Hall is a researcher on the Statistical Options Development team of Beyond 2011, a United Kingdom Office of National Statistics Census-related project.