Using Secondary Data


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  • depending on the file type offered, you may be able to manipulate the data easily, or you may have to re-enter it into a spreadsheet or statistical program
  • save research time, expense (not gathering original data) larger databases than those produced by individual researchers --- larger in number of subjects, geographic coverage, and in detail of information enables longitudinal studies produces relevant, practical research immediately implementable for decision-making by practitioners and policy-makers produces valuable contributions to the discipline of education replication (shared data is more likely to be used more than once; data gathered by organizations or agencies is likely to be used by multiple researchers) replication is important because it ensures that only rigorous, proven research is used to make build upon often has a pre-established degree of validity & reliability
  • how sound was the original research that produced the data? what methodology was used? did data collection methods change over time? were limitations adequately addressed? was the sample adequate for the population generalized to? what was the purpose of the original research? who was the original intended audience? is there adequate documentation? did the original researcher adequately define all terms, coding schemes, etc.? was data modified by the original researcher? is some of the data inaccessible because of confidentiality? appropriateness of the study's unit of analysis and sampling, the variables and their values, and levels of measurement
  • already have a specific topic in mind? just want to browse through some sources of data?
  • compendium of statistics from a wide variety of gov. agencies covers wide variety of topics includes only the top-level, most popular tables look at the SOURCE of the data to find more information like it great place to start when you have specific data in mind, but you’re not sure what agencies might gather it
  • This is a guide composed of many other guides…. organized by topic, geographic level, source type, etc. includes links to tutorials and other helpful info
  • UNT subscribes to the LN Stat Insight DB (if off-campus, requires remote log-in) keywords search abstracts, full text, tables, etc. can narrow by topic, geography, source, etc. includes government, commercial, and educationally gathered data not as easy to use as some of the other resources, but spans a wide variety of data sources
  • newest of the main tools (all info is gathered by the US gov.) more agencies and more data added regularly many files available for downloadable as manipulate-able raw data
  • Using Secondary Data

    1. 1. Secondary Data:How to Find it, How to Use it, & Why It’s Important Starr Hoffman Head, Government Documents UNT Libraries
    2. 2. Introductionsecondary data:  data gathered by government agencies & other organizationsvariety of topicsall educational levelsmuch is accessible online  PDF, CSV, XLS, DOC, etc.
    3. 3. Benefits of Secondary Data Analysissave time, expenselarger databaseslongitudinal dataproduces relevant, practical researchuseful for practitioners, policy-makersreplication
    4. 4. Things to Think About…methodologylimitationspurposeaudiencedocumentationdata modificationaccessibility
    5. 5. How to Use Secondary Dataclass assignmentspractice statistical analysesreplicate research studies (publication)longitudinal studies
    6. 6. Sources for Secondary Data:Where to Start?use the “Agency Approach”  what government agencies or private organizations would use this data?good places to start looking…  U.S. Statistical Abstract  UNT Libraries guide to statistical sources  Lexis Nexis Statistical Insight Database 
    7. 7. Statistical Abstract
    8. 8. UNT Libraries’ Statistical Resources Guide
    9. 9. Lexis-Nexis Statistical Insight Database
    10. 10.raw data catalog searchable by topic or agency
    11. 11. More Sources for Secondary Datawebsites, government agencies, and organizations
    12. 12. Census BureauAmerican FactFinder  populations by educational attainment, etc.Economic CensusStatistical AbstractHistorical Census  education covered since 1840
    13. 13. NCES Resources(National Center for Educational Statistics) The Condition of Education Digest of Educational Statistics Education Statistics Quarterly School District Demographics System IPEDS also library statistics most of these are available:  online / free PDF download  free print publications by mail 
    14. 14. Kids Count Data Book & Data Centerschool enrollmentHead Starttest scoresspecial educationgraduation ratesdropout rates
    15. 15. NSF (National Science Foundation)Science & Engineering IndicatorsAcademic Institutional Profiles
    16. 16. Bureau of Labor Statistics
    17. 17. State-Level Data Sources
    18. 18.combines data from variety of sources on all states  educational spending  educational attainment  student/teacher ratios  student grade levels  degrees awarded  public library statistics
    19. 19. Texas State Data Center
    20. 20. Window on State Government:Compendium of Texas Socioeconomic Data  community colleges  other institutions of higher education
    21. 21. International Data Sources
    22. 22. International Statistics Statistical Yearbook (United Nations)  in print @ UNT Libraries  HA12.5 .U65 Census Bureau: International Data Base (IDB)  Foreign Statistical Agencies (by country)  topics/statistics/foreign-statistical-agencies/ International Statistical Agencies  topics/statistics/international-statistical-agencies/ Compendiums of International Statistics  topics/statistics/foreign-and-international-statistics-general- compilations/
    23. 23. Need More Help?Ask us! Government Documents Department  UNT Libraries   940.565.2870 Starr Hoffman, Dept. Head   940.565.4150this presentation available at: 