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The Minority Data Resource Center. Felicia LeClere, Ph.D. Director, MDRC . What is ICPSR? ---a short review. ICPSR’s origins. Established in 1962 so that social scientists could share data Started as a partnership among 21 universities

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The Minority Data Resource Center

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The Minority Data Resource Center

Felicia LeClere, Ph.D.

Director, MDRC

What is ICPSR? ---a short review

ICPSR’s origins

  • Established in 1962 so that social scientists could share data

  • Started as a partnership among 21 universities

  • Data distributed on punched cards and then magnetic reel to reel tape

  • Originally called ICPR, since the primary focus was political science data

We need organizations like ICPSR to make sense of the world of social science data.

Fast forward to 2008

  • ICPSR now has over 600 diverse members around the world

  • Its archive holds data that span the social and behavioral sciences

  • Data available instantaneously

  • > 6800 data systems with 60,000 data files

Structure of ICPSR

  • Institutions become members

  • Members elect a governing Council of 12 researchers

  • Council guides activities and provides advice

  • International representatives attend Council meetings


  • Disseminates data to scholars and researchers for secondary analysis via electronic access direct to their desktops

  • Links to research publications

  • Provides free user support

  • Provides education and training via its renowned Summer Program courses held at UM and other campuses

ICPSR Archives

  • Topical archives established by federal funding and internal interests

  • Dedicated to particular subjects

  • Web portal and dedicated staff

Minority Data Resource Center

  • Initiative of ICPSR governing council

  • Original intent was to highlight data for underrepresented minorities in the ICPSR archive as an activity for our members

  • Initiative began in earnest in January of 2006. Proposal in June 2006. Beta site October 2006. Functioning website December 2006.

Major thematic objectives

The point of the MDRC is to provide innovative access to the enormous ICPSR collection. Our philosophy until recently has been that our users are knowledgeable about data access. The goal of the MDRC is provide more democratic access to data –that includes more transparent methods of learning and using secondary data.

Initial objectives

  • Bring in new users

    • Students

    • New membership

  • Search and repurpose existing collection

  • Tag relevant studies and provide dedicated search capabilities

  • Add new user tools to improve access

  • Develop resources relevant to students and educators

  • Begin outreach to minority scholars and students

Progress to date

  • Website with full functionality

  • Reviewed and tagged ~1400 studies

  • Developed three analysis tools

  • Developed three searching methods

  • Added tools to ~100 studies and have 255 studies with full SDA and analysis tools

  • Substantial outreach and support

Web and portal features

  • Enhanced search

  • Data and findings

  • Analytical tools

Enhanced search

  • Browse by data format --- helps you know how much additional work you will need to do.

  • Browse by geography --- use interactive map to find appropriate data

  • Browse by additional topics -- improved search taxonomy for MDRC studies

Search by data format

Search on STATA in data format

Advanced search features –more nuance

Search by geography

This view is available by clicking on New York state.

Clicking on Brooklyn brings us to this data listing ---it is one of the cities included in the data collection.

Browse by subject using list

Results from education search --- 79 studies in total

How to access data once you search

  • Meta data page ---information about the data file

  • Browse documentation --- you can look at the codebook to see if this is the type of data you want

  • Download data –choose format and data files

  • Find related journal articles

Metadata page

Information about the data file and links to other elements of the entry.

This data set is part of a series.

Data in series are linked together – this is the meta data page for this series. It describes the series and provides a link to all the studies. It also links to the original source at NCES.

Data in the series of the National Household Election Study

View of documentation – shows there is more than one data set to choose from

Searchable PDF files that can also be saved.

Good strategy to examine the analytic potential of a data file.

  • Downloading data

  • (under download tab)

  • Choose a format

  • Choose a data set

  • Add them to the cart

  • Review what you have chosen (!)

  • Download –comes in zipped format

Choice ---SPSS portable version of the 2005 Early Childhood Program Participation. Documentation and all other study level files are downloaded

Data Cart Review

Related literature tab provides a bibliography based on the data set from both contributed sources and ICPSR search. Full text is available depending on the institutional access to full text.

Featured findings and data

  • Give front page access to data and findings

  • Describes “findings” for selected data sets

  • Gives view of new data files

Research tasks

  • Choosing data sets for analysis

    • Sample size, comparative potential

    • Trend and status monitoring

  • Creating subsets

    • Analytical subsets often labor intensive

  • Learning to analyze data using software ---

    • Examples are usually not specific enough

  • The Analytic Tools at MDRC

    • Sample characteristics

      • This tool is designed to help analysts decide if the sample is adequate or appropriate for the analysis at hand. This is of particular interest for comparative analysis.

  • Subsetting

    • This tool allows analysts to interactively pull a demographic extract of the entire study. This is particularly useful for those conducting subpopulation analyses.

  • Syntax generation

    • This tool is largely instructional. It allows for menu driven recoding that generates “syntax” instructions for the demographic variables in the study. This will help students learn how to conduct their own analyses without the aid of SDA.

  • Creates a recode that combines race and age. Raceage is a dummy variable that is =1 if the respondent is under 18 and black and 0 if 18 and over and black.


    • We will be adding resources for educators and students as we accumulate them

      • Course syllabi

      • Additional data driven applications on the web

      • Forums on research on race and ethnicity

      • A listserv for researchers, students, and faculty

    What’s next ….

    • New tools

      • Variable search –

        • Creating a comparative demographic variable data base for MDRC studies

        • Within data series, variable search to create time series on race, ethnicity, and immigration status

    New Data ---2008

    • Latino National Survey

      • Survey of ~9000 Latinos in 2006

      • Mostly political attitudes with regional questions


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