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Introduction to Data Linkage

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Course Information

Introduction to Data Linkage

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.  

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.


Further course details can be found here.


More information regarding our courses can be found here.


Podcast for some of our previous courses can be found here.

Course Code

ADRCE-training O46 Harron

Course Date

5th September 2017

Places Available

Course Leader

Dr Katie Harron
Course Description

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

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

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 http://www.cdc.gov/cancer/npcr/tools/registryplus/lp_tech_info.htm)


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