Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Training analysts in the management of confidential data

Green, Elizabeth; Ritchie, Felix



With researchers increasingly gaining access to confidentiality data through restricted environments, interest has grown in the training of those researchers to protect confidentiality and to use the secure facility effectively.
Researcher training, where it exist, often tends to focus on the ‘chalk-and-talk’ approach, where the aim is to ensure that the researchers are informed of their legal obligations and so take responsibility for their actions. There are multiple problems with this approach. First, it is of limited pedagogical effectiveness. Second, it assumes that information delivery is the purpose of the training. Third, it does not take account of attendees’ attitudes when attending the course. Fourth, it creates an ‘us and them’ barrier between trainers and trainees, whereas evidence supports that idea that secure facilities are most effectively and securely run when there exists a positive trust relationship between users and facility managers. Nevertheless, the fondness for this approach arises from (a) a defensive attitude to data protection (b) a limited understanding of the psychology of attendees, and (c) the lack of pedagogical experience in trainers.
An alternative approach to training researchers has been in place in the UK since 2017. It uses good pedagogical practice to increase the effectiveness of training. It uses psychological models of behaviour and attitudes to ensure buy-in from attendees. The aim of the course is to build a shared sense of community and trust, rather than information delivery, in line with good data governance practice.
This paper describes the experience of designing and running the course. Multiple organisations and trainers involved in design and delivery, improving feedback but creating its own problems in terms of trainers’ different preferences. Overall, the approach has been highly successful, and has become the model for other organisations. However, the model does place higher demands on the trainer than the traditional ‘chalk-and-talk’ model.
We also briefly touch on how the move to online teaching in the pandemic has learned from the face-to-face experience.


Green, E., & Ritchie, F. Training analysts in the management of confidential data

Deposit Date Mar 27, 2022
Keywords confidentiality, researcher training
Public URL
Publisher URL