Administrative data are crucial to the “big data” revolution of social science and have played an important role in the development of child maltreatment research. These data are also of value to administrators, policy makers, and clinicians. The focus of this paper is the use of administrative data to produce and replicate longitudinal studies of child maltreatment. Child protection administrative data have several advantages. They are often population-based, and allow longitudinal examination of child maltreatment and complex multi-level analyses. They also allow comparison across subgroups and minority groups, remove burden from individuals to disclose traumatic experiences, and can be less biased than retrospective recall. Finally, they can be linked to data from other agencies to explore comorbidity and outcomes, and are comparatively cost and time effective. The benefits and challenges associated with the use of administrative data for longitudinal child maltreatment research become magnified when these data are used to produce replications. Techniques to address challenges and support future replication efforts include developing a biographical understanding of the systems from which the data are drawn, using multiple data sources to contextualize the data and research results, recognizing and adopting various approaches to replication, and documenting all data coding and manipulation processes. These techniques are illustrated in this paper via a case study of previous replication work.
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