Those three examples show two different types of datablog. The Guardian, for example, take public data which has just been released and make it more accessible to a broader audience. Continue reading →
Where is spending recorded? This might be at both a local and national level.
What are the key things that might be measured in your field? For example, in prisons they might be interested in reoffending, or overcrowding, or staffing.
Can you find historical data?
What data do you need to provide basic context? e.g.
Where – addresses for all institutions in your field (e.g. schools, prisons, etc.)
Codes – often these are used instead of institution or area names
Who – names of those responsible for particular aspects of your field
Demographics – the distribution of age, gender, ethnicity, industries, wealth, property or other elements may be important to your work
Politics – who is in charge in each area (local authority and local MP)
How could you collate data that doesn’t exist? E.g. public awareness of something; or how the policies of different bodies compare, etc.
Sometimes the simplest and quickest way to find out these things is to pick up the phone and speak to someone in a relevant organisation and ask them: what information is collected about your field, and by whom?
You can also make content from this process of research: post a guide to how your field is regulated and measured (and what information isn’t); who’s who in your field – the regulators, monitors, politicians and bodies that all have a hand in keeping it on track.
2. Learn advanced techniques to obtain that data
Once you’ve mapped it all out you can start to prioritise the datasets that are most relevant to your particular investigation. You may need to use different techniques to get hold of these, including:
Any of these provide useful opportunities for posting new content with the new contextual information (e.g. “How the data on X was gathered“) or new combined data (“Now with QOF data“) or the issues that they raise (“Why schools data may be worthless“).
And it’s at this point that you can also link to the further detail provided in all the content you’ve written in the previous 4 steps: How you got the data, the wider context, the specific data that’s of interest, the more detailed expert analysis or background, and so on.