DISC News, September 2008

DISC News contains articles about local, national, and international data issues.
It is published twice a semester by the library staff.

Editor: Joanne Juhnke, Special Librarian
Staff Contributors: Lu Chou, Senior Special Librarian


September 2008
(Visit our PDF edition as well!)


Table of Contents
Data Distributors Create Learning Modules
DISC Online Archive: Online Politics and Young Voters, 2006
Unicon CPS on Web -- March Supplement Extracts at Your Fingertips!
If You Need Restricted Data -- Step by Step
New Studies at DISC
NIH Public Access Policy

Crossroads Corner

Voting America: United States Politics, 1840-2008
PolicyMap
Social Explorer


Data Distributors Create Learning Modules
by Joanne Juhnke

“If you build it, they will come,” goes the famous Field of Dreams advice. But for several prominent social science data distributors, building a data archive is only one step. Their work includes an eduational component; to make the data as productive as possible, new data-users need to learn how to use it.

This article highlights three such distributors—ICPSR, ARDA, and ESS—and outlines their efforts to provide tools for teaching and learning the use of social science data.

ICPSR
The Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) at the University of Michigan announced earlier this year a new initiative called the Online Learning Center (OLC), at http://icpsr.umich.edu/OLC/. While still in beta as of this writing, the OLC has posted seven “Data-Driven Learning Guides,” designed to use ICPSR data to examine core concepts appropriate to introductory-level social science courses. The guide topics include: Aging and Caregiving, Aging and Social Integration, Frequency Distributions, Gender and Occupation, Gender Role Attitudes in Japan, Racial Disparities in Mental Health, and Social Class and Health. The guides follow a shared template that begins with the introduction of a goal and concept, followed by the introduction of an ICPSR dataset and specific variables. The next step is an application exercise, followed by interpretation and summary and a bibliography.

ICPSR has previously offered several “web-based instructional modules” which can be found by scrolling to the bottom of http://icpsr.umich.edu/OLC/links.html. These include:

  • Exploring data through research literature (using the ICPSR Bibliography)
  • Investigating community and social capital (data analysis of social capital, as discussed in Robert D. Putnam’s Bowling Alone)
  • SETUPS (a political science unit on Voting Behavior in the 2004 Election)

ARDA
The Association of Religion Data Archives (ARDA) has also set up a Learning Center at http://www.thearda.com/learningcenter/. ARDA collects religion-related data both for the U.S. and internationally. They use the term “Learning Modules” to describe their 17 topic-driven explorations into data found in the ARDA.

Each of the Learning Modules at the ARDA consists of a short online introduction and then a downloadable document in Word or PDF, in the form of a fill-in-the-blank worksheet with step-by-step instructions in a column down the right-hand side for how to proceed online.

Among the ARDA Learning Module topics are Americans and Religious Diversity, Religion and Music, Clergy Satisfaction and Vocational Commitment, and Religion and Views on Homosexuality.

ESS
The European Social Survey (ESS) is a biennial multi-country survey covering over 30 nations in three rounds so far: 2002/2003, 2004/2005, and 2006/2007. The ESS core module is designed to monitor change and continuity in a wide range of social variables including media use, politics, values, allegiances, health, demographics and socio-economics.

The distributors of the European Social Survey (ESS) have created a companion site to their data called European Social Survey Education Net (ESS Edunet), at http://essedunet.nsd.uib.no/. The ESS Edunet currently contains four “topics”: Family, Gender, and Work; Regression; Human Values; and Social and Political Trust. Each topic contains theoretical background on a social science problem, illustrates it with results found by analyzing ESS data, and presents exercises with detailed instructions. The presentation is broken into multiple chapters.

The exercises in ESS Edunet are made more manageable by using small extracts from the full ESS data, presented in Nesstar for online analysis.

Table of contents


DISC Online Archive: Online Politics and Young Voters 2006
by Joanne Juhnke

DISC has recently made available a new study in our online archive. The principal investigator is Communications Professor Michael Xenos of UW-Madison, and the title is Online Politics and Young Voters 2006: The Use of Political Websites by American Youth and Effects on Political Engagement.

The study, conducted among UW-Madison students enrolled in Communication Arts and Journalism courses, looked at interactions with youth-oriented political portal websites during the 2006 midterm elections. Participants were instructed to use the Web to learn about election-related issues and candidates, starting at one of three assigned web sites. The primary objective of the study was to examine the effects of exposure to youth politics websites on the subjective experiences of participants, their ability to form opinions on political issues, and their attitudes toward the Internet as a political tool.

Data and documentation, including a link to online data analysis via the Nesstar system, are available at http://www.disc.wisc.edu/onlinepolitics/.

To inquire about depositing a dataset with the DISC Online Archive, contact Cindy Severt at 262-0750 or cdsevert@wisc.edu.

Table of contents


Unicon CPS on Web - March Supplement Extracts At Your Fingertips!
by Joanne Juhnke

For a user-friendly interface to the March Supplement to the Current Population Survey, (CPS), you used to have to come to the library at DISC to use the CPS Utilities CD-ROM.

No longer! DISC is pleased to announce our new campuswide subscription to the Unicon CPS on Web for the March Supplement, at http://digital.library.wisc.edu/1711.web/CPS-utilities. CPS on Web is an online program for helping researchers find and extract data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s current Population Survey, March Supplement (Annual Social and Economic Study).

The CPS March files contain numeric data on the composition and economic status of the U.S. population, from a nationwide sample of about 65,000 households. The survey collects comprehensive information in the areas of employment, occupation, and industry for persons fourteen years old and over. Characteristics such as age, sex, race, marital status, family relationships, household structure, occupation, employment history, income, educational background, and ethnicity are included for each person in the household. CPS on Web allows you to view the questionnaire, search variables, select specific variables, and create tables and data subsets containing specified variables and years.

CPS on Web has a two-step login. First you will need to log in with your UW NetID and password, whether or not you are on campus. Then at the CPS on Web site, on your first visit you will need to do a one-time free registration, creating a login name and password for subsequent visits.

We at DISC would like to hear both success stories and questions that arise from your experiences with CPS on Web. Please let us know!

Table of contents


If You Need Restricted Data -- Step by Step
by Joanne Juhnke

In response to a growing number of requests for restricted data, DISC has been stepping up our services. DISC not only provides assistance with the many steps in gaining access to restricted data, we also provide facilities for secure data storage and analysis (known as the “cold rooms”).

You can now read an outline of the elements involved in applying to use restricted data at http://www.disc.wisc.edu/restricted/. After you read the outline, the next step in the process is to contact DISC Data Analyst/Archivist Janet Eisenhauer Smith (jeisenha@ssc.wisc.edu, 265-3937) or DISC Director Jack Solock (jsolock@ssc.wisc.edu, 262-9827).

Table of contents


New Studies at DISC

  • CPS Utilities: Annual Social and Economic Study March files, 1962-2007 [online].
  • Medicare Part B Extract Summary System (BESS) Carrier Data file for calendar year 2004.
  • National Health Measurement Study, 2005-2006.
  • National Household Sample Survey, 2005 [Brazil]: public use file.
  • National Household Sample Survey, 2006 [Brazil]: public use file.
  • NBER-United Nations Trade Data, 1962-2000.
  • Online Politics and Young Voters 2006: The Use of Political Websites by American Youth and Effects on Political Engagement.
  • International Social Survey Program (ISSP), 1985-present.
  • Survey of Natural and Social Scientists and Engineers (SSE), 1982-1989
  • U.S. Census of Agriculture, 1978: final county file.

Table of contents

 

NIH Public Access Policy
by Lu Chou

As we start the new school year, our faculty, researchers and students should be aware of the mandatory NIH public access policy. All peer-reviewed articles that arise, in whole or in part, from any NIH grants and which are accepted for publication on or after April 7, 2008 must be submitted to PubMed Central.

In addition, all proposals for funding from NIH must now cite the PubMed Central reference number or NIH Manuscript Submission reference number when citing any article that falls under this NIH policy.

Janet Clear at the Social Science Research Services has written an informative page on this topic: http://www.ssrs.wisc.edu/admin/NIH-PublicAccess/index.php.

John Carlson (CDE Library, 4471 Sewell Social Science Bldg., jcarlson@ssc.wisc.edu) will help CDE and CDHA researchers with various aspects of compliance with this policy.

Non-CDE and Non-CDHA members can contact Tom Durkin (Social Science Reference Library, 8432 Sewell Social Science Bldg., tdurkin@library.wisc.edu) for assistance.


Table of contents


Crossroads Corner
by Joanne Juhnke

Crossroads Corner highlights web sites recently added to the searchable Internet Crossroads in Social Science Data on the DISC web site. The selections this issue are in the category of “a picture is worth a thousand words” -- three sites that focus on mapping social science data.

Voting America: United States Politics, 1840-2008
With the 2008 U.S. election right around the corner, it’s instructive to take a backwards look at past presidential elections. The Voting America site at http://www.americanpast.org/voting, from the Digital Scholarship Lab at the University of Richmond, presents animated maps of presidential election data at the county level across time (actual returns, margin of victory, party strength, population, voter turnout).

The centerpiece of the “cinematic maps” is a timeline tour through presidential election data from 1840 onward. Cinematic maps for individual elections show a series of thematic maps, from state results to county results to numbers of votes to margins of victory. Another series of cinematic maps shows population growth over time for White and African American residents. Users can also choose “interactive maps” and pick their own years and indicators to display. An additional section of the site provides analysis and commentary in video form.

The underlying data for the Voting America site came from ICPSR study #8611 for the years 1840-1972, and from Polidata for 1976-2004.

PolicyMap
PolicyMap, at http://www.policymap.com/, is a geographic information system that lets users map, graph, and organize data relevant to neighborhood planning and economic revitalization. The site carries data on demographics, real-estate, crime, income, education, and jobs - over 4,000 indicators.

The site has many components available with a free registration, and others available to subscribers only. The free data comes from such U.S. government agencies as the Census Bureau, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), and the Social Security Administration (SSA). Fee-based, subscriber-only data comes mostly from Claritas, a consumer-data and demographics firm that produces projections and annual small-area estimates. The oldest data is from the 2000 Census, while the most current is the 2008 Presidential Contributions by state and ZIP code. A complete list of PolicyMap data can be found at http://www.policymap.com/our-data.html.

PolicyMap is a service of The Reinvestment Fund, a not-for-profit organization that finances neighborhood and economic development projects.

Social Explorer
The Social Explorer website, at http://www.socialexplorer.com/pub/home/home.aspx, provides demographic information about the United States, using an online thematic map application. A free version of the Social Explorer for the general public includes U.S. Census data maps and reports to the tract level from 1940 to 2000. A recent partnership with the Association of Religion Data Archives (ARDA) provides maps and reports of religious adherents in the U.S. for 1980, 1990 and 2000 at the county level. A subscription version of Social Explorer (UW-Madison does not subscribe) covers a larger collection of maps plus custom reporting features.

Social Explorer is sponsored by the New York Times and the National Science Foundation, and led by Dr. Andrew Beveridge, professor of sociology at Queens College, New York.

Table of contents