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The Care Life Cycle

Dr James Robards BA, MA, PhD

Research Fellow

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Dr James Robards is a Research Fellow in the ESRC National Centre for Research Methods and Division of Social Statistics & Demography at the University of Southampton.

James has a background in both demography and population health giving an appreciation of two separate disciplines, fused through the successful use of linked census and administrative data sources. James’ research contributions to date have significantly advanced the use of linked census data to aid the understanding of major drivers of population change and health outcomes in England and Wales.

Within the NCRM, James is currently working on a project exploring how areal aggregation of data and data disclosure risks must be reconsidered in the rapidly changing linked data environment (‘The anatomy of disclosure risk in a world of linked population data’). Specifically, the project is looking at the application of automated zone design tools to protect record-level datasets. The aim of the project is to explore how successful implementation of such techniques could facilitate the release of rich linked record datasets to researchers so as to preserve small area geographical associations, while not revealing actual locations which are currently lost due to the high level of geographical coding required by data providers. James is applying his expertise of working with spatial data, census data and secure linked datasets.

Prior to this James was a Research Fellow within the Demography Work Package of the EPSRC Care Life Cycle project. James is an Associate Member of the ESRC Centre for Population Change and has a track record in using census data, particularly linked data in the Office for National Statistics Longitudinal Study (ONS LS). This includes being invited to ‘beta test’ and comment on the quality of 2011 Census data in the ONS LS.

James completed a PhD thesis on ‘Estimating the fertility of migrants to England and Wales using the Office for National Statistics Longitudinal Study’ in the School of Social Sciences at the University of Southampton (2012). Before this James studied at the University of Sheffield, where he completed a masters in Human Geography Research Methods (2008). From 2006 to 2008 James worked as a Research Assistant at ECORYS Research and Consulting on a wide variety of research projects.

Academic qualifications

PhD Social Statistics and Demography, University of Southampton (2012)

MA Human Geography Research Methods, University of Sheffield (2008)

BA (Hons) Geography, University of Sheffield (2005)

Research interests

  • Construction of longitudinal / linked datasets from administrative and census data.
  • Identification of biases and longitudinal patterns of follow-up among members of longitudinal / matched datasets.
  • Informal caring and health.
  • Partnership change, living arrangements and health.
  • Interrelationships between demographic events in the life course, particularly migration and fertility.
  • Affiliated to the Centre for Population Change; member of the British Society for Population Studies and the European Association for Population Studies.

James has lectured and taught on a range of courses at undergraduate level including Introduction to Demographic Methods, Introduction to Quantitative Methods, and Research Methods in the Social Sciences.

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