Short UK postcodes (eg my old address in London was N22) are the nearest equivalent of US zipcodes. Full UK postcodes (eg N22 5HJ) refer to groups of around 12 addresses and could permit identification of respondents, hence the query. Judging from the email address Kuaima seems to be based in the National Health Service, so will be covered by the Data Protection Act which is designed to protect personal information from unauthorised access or accidental disclosure.
Codes of Conduct of the British Sociological Association, the Market Research Society and the Social Research Association require identities of respondents to be kept separate from their personal data from eg questionnaires.
Similar constraints apply to small electoral districts, which is why many data sets, including the Census, have such data stripped off or aggregated in order to prevent accidental or unauthorised identification of respondents.
For the same reason, names, addresses and phone numbers should NEVER appear on questionnaires, but be kept on a separate list (preferably by a separate research section) together with serial numbers, to be used only for essential follow-up, and destroyed on completion of the research.
----- Original Message -----
From: Art Kendall
Sent: Monday, December 21, 2009 10:56 PM
Subject: Re: Joining two files
Just curious. I had the impression that UK postcodes were very similar to US zipcodes. From your message it seems they are something else.
What are UK postcodes and why would the be covered under a Data Protection Act?
Social Research Consultants
John F Hall wrote:
Hope you're covered by the Data Protection Act, otherwise what are you doing with access to postcodes?
----- Original Message -----
From: Kuiama Thompson
Sent: Monday, December 21, 2009 2:43 PM
Subject: Joining two files
I have a data set which contains people's details, including postcodes and another dataset which contains postcodes and characteristics of that postcode. The first dataset may have two more than one occurrence of the same postcode. I want to apply the postcode characteristics from the second file to the corresponding records in the first file. Is this possible and if so how?
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