This methods review sets out knowledge about current uses and applications of large datasets for research in adult social care practice.
Built on a wide-ranging search of the literature, this review discusses examples of the use of different large datasets such as the General Social Care Council, the Census, the Labour Force Survey, governmental and hospital records, as well as others in health and social care research. It focuses on the methods adopted to extract and use data from different large datasets to enable quantitative and statistical examination of the research questions considered.
It discusses the challenges associated with using large data records, which in some cases are not originally designed for specific quantitative data analysis or to answer a pre-defined research question, and illustrates various approaches adopted by researchers to extract, validate, refine and interpret results based on such data.
The review discusses the strengths and limitations of a number of large datasets currently used in research on social care in England, with examples from adult safeguarding and other areas relevant to adult social care practice.