Urban Research Using Public Data Sources

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The Census and the National Sample Survey Organisation are large secondary data sets which are often used for development research and practice which is focused on urban India. Debates around poverty, inequality, employment, urban and demographic structure, migration, informality, and housing are based on data from these sources. Researchers and practitioners focusing on cities need to better understand these datasets, and learn the types of conclusions that can and cannot be drawn from them.

This course will explain the nature of both the datasets, the types of variables for which data is collected, the processes of data collection, and will explain how to go about analysing data from these sources. Learners will understand the concept of sampling, how to calculate population estimates from raw NSS data using multipliers, as well as be exposed to some of the critiques of working with sample data. They will also learn how the sampling frame has changed to reflect the changing realities of urbanisation in India.

At the end of the course, learners will be able to analyse both Census and NSS data to address their urban research questions.

Target Audience

The course is targeted at early stage researchers, PhD students and learners with Masters degrees working as research assistants or research associates in universities, think tanks, multilaterals, media etc. Learners should have a basic level of quantitative literacy and should be comfortable with working with large datasets in Excel.

Key Takeaways

Learners will be able to manipulate data from Census and the NSS. They will be confident about the concept of multipliers, sample data, and will be able to calculate population estimates of different variables using raw NSS data. They will also understand and be able to navigate thematic data sets, for instance, consumption data, data on employment, data on migration, housing data, etc, and understand the applications as well as limitations of these secondary data sets.

Format and Schedule
  • Day 1: Introductions to Census and NSS Data and Concepts – In the first half, there will be an introduction to working with data for urban research. The difference between Census and NSS, and the types of variables for which data is collected will be highlighted. This will be followed by a deep dive into NSS data. In the second half, concepts underlying the variables being collected (such as consumption, recall period, sampling) as well as work with the data simultaneously to understand multipliers and applications. Instruction on sectoral data will begin.
  • Day 2: Instructions on sectoral data and group work on analysis of data
  • Day 3: Group work on analysis of data, series of presentations and feedback
Course Structure
Time Day 1
Friday 28 Mar 2014
Day 2
Saturday 29 Mar 2014
Day 3
Sunday 30 Mar 2014
0930 – 1130 Introduction to Socio-economic databases Sectoral work: Housing Interim presentation to an external panel of experts
1130 – 1145 Break
1145 – 1300 Sectoral work: Poverty, inequality, and food security Emerging questions from sectoral sessions, wrap up and conclusions. Group exercise: Refining of data analysis
1300 – 1400 Lunch
1400 – 1600 Sectoral work: Labour markets, economic concentration Group exercise: data analysis using a combination of NSS/Census data around a selected theme Group exercise: Preparing presentations
1600 – 1615 Break
1615 – 1730 Sectoral work continued: Labour markets, economic concentration Group exercise: data analysis using a combination of NSS/Census data around a selected theme Final presentations to external panel of experts

Course Fee
  • Working professionals – ₹ 12,000/-
  • Students – ₹ 9,000/-
  • OECD country participants – ₹ 15,000/-

Early-bird discount: ₹ 2,000/-

Important Dates
  • Course dates – 28 – 30 March, 2014
  • Last date for applications – 14 March, 2014
  • Early-bird application date – 7 march, 2014