Analysing survey data online using Nesstar

Nesstar

Nesstar enables you to search, browse, visualise, analyse and download a selected range of social and economic survey and census microdata (where microdata are case level data e.g. data at the individual or household level).

What you can do with Nesstar

Without logging into the UK Data Service website, you can:

  • See a list of survey and census microdata datasets for research and teaching that are available from the UK Data Service
  • In each dataset, you can see a list of variables and explore their content including the variable name, how they are coded (e.g. male=1, female=2), unweighted frequencies, numbers of missing cases and other summary statistics for each variable
  • See the metadata from the survey i.e. the data documentation (this is also available via the catalogue page for each dataset)
  • You can explore and conduct analyses using open/unrestricted access teaching datasets without logging in.

After logging into the UK Data Service, you can also:

  • Weight your analyses to make your results representative of the population
  • Recode variables and do simple calculations using the variables
  • Create frequency tables, cross-tabulations and simple graphs using the variables in the data
  • Do correlations and linear regressions
  • You can also download subsets of data or the entire dataset via Nesstar.

What alternatives are there to Nesstar?

You can download most survey and census microdata datasets available from the UK Data Service via their respective catalogue record pages. You can then analyse the data using a statistics software package like SPSS, Stata or R.

Advantages and limitations of using Nesstar (vs downloading and using a statistics package)

Advantages
  • You can do some basic data exploration in Nesstar without logging into the UK Data Service.
  • Anyone can register with the UK Data Service and do the full range of analyses available in Nesstar.
  • You can use Nesstar to explore and analyse data without downloading the dataset.
  • Nesstar allows you to explore and analyse data without using a statistics package like SPSS, Stata or R.
  • Nesstar has a ‘point and click’ interface – so there is no coding or commands needed to use it.
  • These features make Nesstar a useful tool for teaching your students about the basics of variables in survey data. In particular, Nesstar contains some teaching datasets which are cut down versions of the research datasets. If you use open/unrestricted access teaching datasets, your students can explore them and conduct analyses without logging in to the UK Data Service.
Limitations
  • Nesstar only contains a selection of survey datasets and census microdata available from the UK Data Service.
  • Nesstar allows you to conduct a very limited range of analyses. Statistics packages like SPSS, Stata and R allow you to conduct a much wider range of analyses and have data manipulation options that Nesstar does not have e.g. statistic packages allow you to merge or link different datasets.
  • Because Nesstar has a ‘point and click’ interface with no coding or commands, it does not store a record of what you did to produce your results. Statistics packages use code (or have the option to use code) that you can save. Using code means that you have a record of your analyses and can easily replicate your results, you can quickly and easily run and edit large blocks of analyses and you can easily share your code with collaborators or other researchers.

Resources

Analysing international macrodata online using .Stat

.Stat enables you to search, browse, and download a selected range of time series social and economic data from trusted global NGOs.

What you can do with .Stat

What you can do without logging in:

  • View datasets from the OECD, UNESCO, International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the Human Rights Atlas.
  • Search for keywords in dataset titles.
  • Browse the datasets we hold, viewing data in paged tabular format.
  • Specify exactly which variables you wish to see and customising the view and layout of the tabular output.
  • Download the data in Excel, CSV, PC-Axis and SDMX (XML) format.
  • Export ‘open’ datasets using the API.

After logging into the UK Data Service, you can also:

  • View datasets from the International Energy Agency and UN Industrial Development Organisation (these datasets are restricted to UK academic use only so we ask those users to log in to view and use these datasets).
  • Save your queries and manage existing queries (Open, Delete, Share).

What alternatives are there to .Stat?

.Stat is not designed for the analysis or visualisation of data.

You download all the data from .Stat and analyse it using a statistics software package like SPSS, Stata or R or a spreadsheet package such as Excel or a database tool like Access .

You can use the API built in to .Stat to hook up a package like R and use that to download the data directly.