State Agencies’ Use of Administrative Data for Improved Practice: Needs, Challenges, and Opportunities

Publisher: Public Administration Review, vol. 78, issue 2
Apr 01, 2018
Scott W. Allard, Emily R. Wiegand, Colleen Schlecht, A. Rupa Datta, Robert M. Goerge, and Elizabeth Weigensberg
Growing interest in the use of administrative data to answer questions around program implementation and effectiveness has led to greater discussion of how government agencies can develop the necessary internal data infrastructure, analytic capacity, and office culture. However, there is a need for more systematic research into how states find different pathways and strategies to build administrative data capacity. Drawing on interviews with almost 100 human service agency staff and their data partners, the authors examine the realities of administrative data use. They summarize the experiences of data users in order to address two main challenges: limited analytic capacity and challenges to linking or sharing data resources. The article concludes by examining a range of approaches that government agencies take to improve data quality and capacity to analyze that data.