Administrative Data and Research
The Richland County Department of Community and Government Services (CGS) collects raw data and statistics that facilitate better understanding of Richland County taxpayer needs and guide program development and collaborations between key stakeholders. CGS translates data into a format that is easier for citizens to understand. CGS has three key goals in collecting data:
- Administrative Data
- Educational Workshops and Collaborative Stakeholder Programs
What is Administrative Data?
Administrative data refers to information collected primarily for administrative (not research) purposes. This information is collected across County Departments and Richland County stakeholder groups and organizations as part of record keeping and tracking. These datasets are rich in information that can be useful for evaluating programs and enforcement activities. CGS defines Administrative Data simply as raw data, or primary data collected directly from a source (constituent groups). Raw data has not been processed (by manual or automated processes). CGS will typically display Administrative or raw data in spreadsheets or as statistics that directly or indirectly define some demographic or feature of Richland County.
The Importance of Administrative Data
Administrative data assists CGS to establish Richland County stakeholder profiles. The mission of Richland County Government is to provide essential services, efficiently and effectively, in order to improve the quality of life for its citizens. In order for Richland County to best serve our constituents, we must first know our constituents. Many organizational policies, standards, conventions, and definitions are based on administrative data.
How CGS Uses Administrative Data
Administrative data allows CGS to develop a hub of empirical data that can be used by County leadership to identify and address community needs and collaborative constituent initiatives.
Why is Research Important?
Research is the process of asking questions about a subject or topic, using resources to find the answer, and communicating the findings of your research to others. Ultimately, the purpose of research is to inform action. Research should always seek to contextualize findings (such as raw data) within the larger body of research. In other words, it should answer the question, “How does administrative or raw data help define our County and what are potential implications or long-term effects of this data on Richland County citizens?”
CGS Research Methods
Richland County CGS uses the following research methods:
- Data collection
- Data analysis
- Collaborating with outside agencies
Educational Workshops and Collaborative Stakeholder Programs
The Practical Implicaitons of Administrative Data and Research
Whereas research should always seek to contextualize findings (such as raw data) within the larger body of research, as stated above, it should also produce knowledge that may be applied outside of the research setting. This is important because research findings may have implications for policy and program initiatives.
The term “social capital” means the network of relationships among people who live and work in a particular community, enabling that community not only to function effectively, but to optimize our resources in order to improve the quality of life in Richland County. Although the concept of social capital has been in existence for over a century, it was more widely popularized in the late 1990s.1 In our Move to Excellence, Richland County is placing increasing value on the social capital that we build with our citizens. The third goal of CGS is to translate administrative data and research into effective, collaborative programs throughout Richland County that support our mission of improving quality of life.
1 Adler, S. P.; Kwon, S.K. (2002). "Social Capital: Prospects for a new Concept". Academy of Management Review. 27: 17–40. doi:10.5465/amr.2002.5922314