The Guidelines focus on six key aspects of data linkage. These are the values and ethics in human research relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, transparency and accountability, the quality of the Indigenous status variable on key data sets, the quality of the variables that are used for the linkage, the quality of the linkage itself, and the methods and algorithms used to derive Indigenous status where Indigenous status varies across the individual data sets in the linked data set.
The Guidelines also discuss a number of options that can be used to derive Indigenous status where Indigenous status varies across data sets. These options are related to the quality, scope, content and characteristics of the input data sets, and the purposes for which the input data sets are collected. The Guidelines recommend that for each statistical reporting or research, analysts should, as best practice, always compare the impact of various methods of deriving Indigenous status on the estimated measures and indicators.
Many of the methods and algorithms for deriving Indigenous status are explored in a separate study, Getting Our Story Right, designed to provide the evidence base and guidance to analysts for choosing methods to derive Indigenous status from linked data. The Getting Our Story Right study was undertaken as a joint project between the ABS, West Australian Department of Health and the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research.