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released: 9 Jul 2012 author: AIHW and ABS

In 2008, the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) agreed to a set of targets for 'Closing the Gap' in disadvantage between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous Australians. Currently, progress is difficult to measure accurately because Indigenous status is either missing or inconsistently reported across data sets. To ensure a consistent approach to dealing with Indigenous status reporting, COAG directed the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare and the Australian Bureau of Statistics to develop national best practice guidelines for linking data related to Indigenous people. This report offers guidance on how to derive Indigenous status when it is missing or inconsistently reported, in a way that protects privacy and individuals' right to self-identification.

ISBN 978-1-74249-309-1; Cat. no. IHW 74; 70pp.; $20

printed copy


Publication table of contents

  • Preliminary material
    • Title and verso pages
    • Contents
    • Preface
    • Acknowledgments
    • Abbreviations
    • The Principles and Guidelines
  • Body section
    • 1 Background to the Guidelines
      • Background
      • Purpose of the Guidelines
      • Context of the development of the Guidelines
      • Organisation of the Guidelines
      • Key concepts in data linkage
        • What is data linkage?
        • Uses of data linkage
        • Data linkage methods
        • The data linkage process
        • Statistical linkage keys
      • Protocols of data linkage
    • 2 Values and ethics in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander research
      • Background
      • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander core values
      • Project approval
    • 3 Quality of Indigenous status information in data collections
      • Background
      • Factors affecting the quality of Indigenous statusinformation
        • The data collection environment
        • The respondent environment
      • Checklist for understanding the quality of Indigenous status information
    • 4 Quality of linkage variables
      • Background
      • Quality issues for linkage variables
        • Name changes
        • Date of birth
        • Mobility and levels of geographic reporting
      • Impact of quality of linkage variables on data linkage
    • 5 Assessment of quality of data linkage
      • Background
      • Determinants of linkage quality
        • Quality of blocking and linking variables
        • Blocking and linking strategy
      • Assessing the quality of data linkage
      • Approaches to assessment of data linkage quality
        • Measuring linkage quality through clerical assessment
        • Other approaches to assessing the quality of linkage
      • Measures of quality of data linkage
        • Other measures of quality of linkage from clerical assessment
      • Characteristics of unlinked records
      • Edit checks that should be performed before analysing linked data
        • Familiarisation with the data collections in the study
        • Basic frequency analyses of individual data sets beforemerging data
        • Knowledge of quality of input data sets and quality of linkeddata set
        • Logic or internal consistency checks on the linked data set
    • 6 Methods for deriving Indigenous status

    • Background
    • General issues to consider when choosing a method
    • Algorithms for deriving Indigenous status
      • Simple algorithms
      • Complex algorithms
    • Aggregate methods for deriving Indigenous status
    • Quality checks for derived Indigenous status
  • 7 Transparency
    • Why is transparency important?
    • What should be disclosed, by whom and to whom?
      • Before the project starts
      • After the project has been completed
      • Documentation considerations for data linkage institutions
  • End matter
    • Glossary
    • References
    • List of tables
    • List of figures
    • Forthcoming publications

Recommended citation

AIHW and ABS 2012. National best practice guidelines for data linkage activities relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people: 2012. Cat. no. IHW 74. Canberra: AIHW.

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