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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. General Data and Access

1.1 Where does the data on KnowFife Dataset come from?

The data and information held on the KnowFife Dataset (KFD) comes from a variety of local and national sources. Some data is specific to Fife, for example, from a department at Fife Council, while some comes from national sources such as Scottish Neighbourhood Statistics (SNS) or NHS Scotland Information Services Division (ISD).

1.2 Are there any restrictions on how I use the data from KnowFife Dataset?

The KnowFife Dataset is a publicly facing resource and so the data and information available can be used for most purposes, so long as users ensure they correctly state the source of the data and information and any copyright policy those sources may have. It is the users responsibility to adhere to these policies.

1.3 Why can I not I see every indicator for all the geographies I am interested in?

Not every indicator is available at every geography in the KnowFife Dataset. Although the majority of data is available at datazone level, due to the nature of some information it cannot be viewed at very low level geography. Use the Search function on the homepage to see at what geographic level an indicator is available at. This is explained in more detail below in the Data Quality FAQ section.

1.4 Who uses the KnowFife Dataset?

The KnowFife Dataset is publicly available and therefore has a wide range of uses and users. These include, but not exclusively, Fife Council, NHS Fife, Schools, Third Sector, Universities, Colleges, Community Councils, Area Committees and the general public. Uses include, providing an area profile; helping to develop community plans and profiles; supporting community development; to provide evidence for local or national programmes or initiatives; to support funding bids; teaching; gathering knowledge and information and more.

1.5 Can I get help or support in using the KnowFife Dataset and accessing data?

Within the Resources section of the KnowFife Dataset there are two user guides which will help you to find your way around the site and access the data. A quick guide outlines the various ways to access information. The full user guide offers more detail and step-by-step instructions. The KnowFife Dataset Co-Ordinator is also happy to respond to any queries or questions on accessing or finding data. They can be contacted by email at the following address in the first instance. There is also limited training offered through the Fife Health Improvement Training Programme. This provides those with a professional interest in health improvement information and intelligence, or have a need to access information about local areas or neighbourhoods, the opportunity to receive detailed training on accessing and interpreting the data on the KnowFife Dataset. Training can also be arranged on request for groups of three people of more.

1.6 Where else can I access Fife data?

There are a wide range of sources where you can access Fife data, some of which also appears on the KnowFife Dataset. These include Scottish Neighbourhood Statistics (SNS) for a range of data under different themes; Scotlands Census 2011; National records of Scotland (NRS)/ General Register Office for Scotland (GROS); ScotPho for health profiles; NHS Scotland Information Services Division; Department for Work and Pensions (DWP); Her Majestys Revenue and Customs (HMRC); NOMIS for labour market data.

1.7 Why would I use KnowFife Dataset and not these other national sources?

The KnowFife Dataset can offer a wider range of geographies at which you can view the data. The majority of data is loaded into the system at datazone level - the smallest geography- and these figures are aggregated up to the various larger sub-Fife Geographies such as Ward level, Community Health Partnership or Interzone. Some of these geographies are unique to Fife and can only be viewed on the KnowFife Dataset, such as Area Committees, School Catchment Areas or Local Housing Areas. KnowFife Dataset therefore offers greater range and flexibility as to how you can view the data you are interested in.

1.8 Why are some of the figures on KnowFife Dataset slightly different than on these national sources?

In some cases there may appear to be a slight discrepancy between figures seen on the KnowFife Dataset and the same indicator seen in a source elsewhere. Due to the way in which KnowFife Dataset builds its geographies from datazone (see 7 above), some figures may appear to be slightly different which in part may be due the way in which the system rounds figures up or down. However, this does not mean the data is inaccurate but is simply a result of being able to offer such a wide range of geographies.

2. KnowFife Dataset Data Quality FAQ

2.1 How do I know the data is accurate?

Many of the indicators in the KnowFife Dataset are national figures obtained from reputable national organisations. These organisations apply rigorous data quality protocols to the data before publishing to ensure accuracy. Furthermore, the KFD has developed its own code of practice regarding data quality. This code contains several components of data quality that the KFD data administrators use to check their data against before uploading to the KFD, as well as once it is made available for users to access.

2.2 Why can I not get the data at datazone level?

Some indicators are more sensitive than others or the number of events are very small. This makes it easier to identify individuals if the geography is small (usually datazone). A minimum geography disclosure method is used to limit the geographic boundaries data is presented at to larger geographical areas. Another aspect of geography that is taken into consideration is statistics with overlapping geographies. In some cases, it might be possible to subtract figures from overlapping geographies to obtain statistics for a geography not defined by the dataset (for privacy reasons). Care is taken to ensure that this is not possible with figures uploaded into the KnowFife Dataset by aggregating the data to levels where subtraction from overlapping geographies is not possible.

2.3 Why are there no values less than 5 but zero values?

This is the most common form of data disclosure used in data uploaded to the KnowFife dataset. If a cell in a dataset is less than 5 (which is most common, but it could be less than 10, 50, or even 100 depending on the data), it will be rounded down to 0. This is designed to protect the privacy of individuals at small geographies and is typically used for data at the datazone level.

2.4 Why are the values in the data multiples of 5?

For some indicators, a data disclosure method of rounding has been applied to the data. This method is similar to the suppression of figures less than 5 noted above, as counts may be rounded to the nearest 5 or 10 in some indicators or tables. This is typically used on sensitive data or in the case of rare events to protect the privacy of the individuals involved.

2.5 How do I know the data is the most up-to-date?

Sometimes indicators might appear to be several years old from the current date. However, this does not mean the data is out-of-date. In many cases it can take a year or longer to prepare data for analysis and publication. All indicators should include a date.NextVersionDue and frequency metadata field. These will indicate how often new data is released as well as the anticipated date for the new data to be uploaded to the KFD.

2.6 The time period for the data covers three years, what does this mean?

This method is used to display small values or possibly sensitive information by averaging or aggregating the counts across months or years. The time period is fixed depending on the indicator so the end user cannot see the counts within a specific subset of time (e.g. if it is a three year average, the user cannot select a specific year within that range).

2.7 Where can I find out more detail about the data?

Each indicator will have associated additional information about the dataset, called metadata. This metadata will include any caveats or explanations for the specific indicator, as well as the original source of the data, frequency uploaded, and the date the next version is due. This can be found by pressing the blue i (information) button where you see it next to an indicator, or the metadata button when selecting your data.


The KnowFife Dataset is part of a suite of knowledge and research products, managed by Fife Council on behalf of Fife's Community Planning partners.