Methodology

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Our research uses methods from epidemiology, social geography, environmental science and statistics. Almost all of our work is quantitative; we use numerical data to describe and capture the characteristics of the people and the places we study. A lot of the work we do is at population or large scales; this means that we like to study how health and environments vary across regions or countries. It also means we often need to use very large data sets. We usually do not collect data for our research, instead we make use of the huge number of social, health and environmental datasets which already exist.

The Centre is interested in understanding how individuals and environments influence each other so we often join together data about people and about environments. We use Geographical Information Systems (GIS) to do this. Many of the studies we have carried out had an ecological design (which means the neighbourhood or small area is the unit of analysis). We are developing more studies which focus on individuals, rather than areas, and which try to understand how people and the places they live and work in, affect each other.

We are interested in improving the statistical and spatio-temporal techniques needed for the kind of work we do and so methodology itself is sometimes the focus of our work, particularly in environmental statistics. Where we have created a new dataset or technique we try to make these available for others to test and use. You can, for example, download our measures of environmental deprivation, and our estimates of how much green space is in each neighbourhood, from this site.

There is more information about GIS here

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