Some features of LMI

Learning objective

  • To appraise, critically, some features of LMI that contribute to its quality.

Features of LMI

There are several features of LMI to bear in mind, when using different data sources. These important issues are discussed further in the video below, but summarised as follows:

Provenance of data

Keep in mind information on how the data were collected (i.e. methodology) and why it was collected.  This includes the coverage of the data and when it was collected. This will enable you to make an initial assessment about the likely reliability of the data and its robustness.

Classification systems

Data are classified in different ways. For example, in the UK, they are classified both by the Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) and the Standard Industrial Classification (SIC). Although similar terminology may appear in datasets from other countries that you may access, this does not necessarily mean that these classifications systems are the same.  It is also worth remembering that classification systems may become outdated as industries and occupations change, with statisticians sometimes reluctant to change systems because this would mean ‘breaking’ continuity with data collected earlier.

Boundary and geography

Boundaries can also change over time and the names of places may not have consistent boundaries between different surveys. A further complication is that sometimes data are provided based on where people live, and sometimes on their place of work.

Survey non-response

In any data based on a survey it is important to consider the possibility of any potential bias caused by non-response, together with the impact of such non-response for the robustness and quality of the data.

Alternative information sources

To answer a particular question or examine a specific topic of interest, there is likely to be a number of different data sources that a career, employment practitioner or teacher can use. While in some instances the sources will ‘tell the same story’, in other instances the details/ trends may be contradictory. These discrepancies arise because: different methodologies have been used to collect information; geographical coverage of data collection varied; concepts were defined differently; varied classification systems were used; the time period to which the information refers differ; or the appropriateness of the analytical techniques used in the manipulation of data are varied. If contrasting stories emerge, it does not necessarily mean that one source is ‘right’ and the other ‘wrong’, or that one source is ‘better’ than the other is. It probably means that further investigation may be necessary to try and find reasons for the variation.


How do you choose between sources of LMI?

vector image of checklist

Given the range of sources from which LMI is available, careers practitioners need to be able to make their own judgements about the criteria they should use to choose between sources. The video above presents checklists of what you should be looking for.

What would your own checklist include?



Go to the next unit: Choosing amongst sources of LMI