This is a one-day course run by the School of Population and Global Health at The University of Melbourne that provides an introduction to administrative data and data linkage. The course is designed for policy makers, researchers, managers, analysts, and others working in the public sector with an interest in generating evidence. No knowledge of data linkage is required; however, basic familiarity with research methods is an asset. On completion of this course, participants will have a basic understanding of the practical considerations involved in using administrative data, and an awareness of the lifecycle of linked data research.

Specifically, this course will discuss the application of linked administrative data to real world problems, and outline how data linkage can be used to provide valuable, policy-relevant evidence.

  • Date/Time: This course will next be held on Monday 23 August, 2021 from 9.30am to 4.30pm AEST (Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra). For other time zones, use World Clock Meeting Planner available here.
  • Location: Online. (This course has been moved to online due to COVID-related uncertainties.)
  • To book: Click the Book now button on this page to register and make payment.

Course outline

Module 1: Administrative Data and Data Linkage In this module you will gain an understanding of the diverse types of administrative data that can potentially be used for research. You will learn what data linkage is, and gain a basic understanding of how data can be linked for research purposes. We will explore some of the strengths and limitations of using linked data for research, including some of the key practical and methodological considerations associated with data linkage. The session will conclude with some examples of research using linked data, and discussion of how these studies have informed policy or practice.

Module 2: Acquiring Data In this module we will introduce the key concepts involved in scoping the data required to answer a question of interest. The module will introduce design concepts such as bias, censoring, sampling and missingness, and you will learn how to critically appraise administrative data resources. The module will cover practical considerations such as ethics and privacy principles, and will provide an overview of a typical data acquisition process.

Module 3: Data Management In this module we will provide an overview of the data management process as it relates to linked data. This will include the key steps prior to, and immediately after, gaining access to linked data. We will discuss the basic manipulation of data, including identifying the layout of your data, methods of transferring between long and wide formats, and considerations when combining datasets. We will detail the basics of data security followed by advice on setting up data analysis sessions to maximise the transferability and repeatability of research studies. Finally, we will discuss some common pitfalls of linked data, focusing on free-text, coded and date-time variables.

Module 4: Generating and Communicating Results This module will provide an overview of the unique considerations involved in generating and communicating results from linked administrative data. The module will introduce common approaches and techniques for the analysis of linked data, and the reasoning behind them. We will provide an overview of data analysis techniques commonly applied to big data, and common strengths and limitations associated with analysis of linked data. The module will introduce practical ways of communicating results that maximise impact beyond the research sector, and equip you with the basic knowledge to engage with and contribute to data linkage research.

Course leaders

Prof Stuart Kinner

Dr Jesse Young

How much is it?

Course Fees:

Early Bird – closes Friday 23 July 2021: $500 (GST exclusive)
Normal Rates (non-early bird) – closes Sunday 15 August 2021: $575 (GST exclusive)
Student Rate: $250 (GST exclusive) for a limited number of places for registrants who are current students-closes Sunday 15 August 2021

Registrants will be given access to course e-materials and a Zoom link will be emailed to you prior to the course date.

IMPORTANT: This course may be cancelled one month prior to the course date if it has not reached the minimum number of participants. Registration fees will be reimbursed.

Application procedure

  • Payment using credit card is via the University’s eCart
    If your organisation needs an invoice for payment, please request via email to 


  • Registration is via eCart when payment is made. You can also click on the Book now button on this page to access eCart. Early bird registrations close on 23 July. Non-early bird registrations close on 15 August 2021.
  • Further enquiries: linkage-shortcourse@unimelb.edu.au

Justice Health Unit
Melbourne School of Population and Global Health
The University of Melbourne
VIC  3010  Australia

Course Information

Key dates

23 August 2021 (Online)


Early bird: $500 ex-GST. Early bird bookings close 23 July 2021.

Normal rate (non-early bird): $575 ex-GST. Non early bird bookings close 15 August 2021.

Student rate: $250 ex-GST. Limited number of registrations available at this price for current students.


Online via Zoom

Entry requirements

No knowledge of data linkage is required; however, basic familiarity with research methods is an asset.