SOCW 501: Part I Demographic Briefing Erin Harrop SOCW 501 Subject Tutor Writing Team: Julia Schneider, Jenny Walden, Jim Leighty, and Gina Mendoza
Getting Started Overview of Assignment: 5 Big Steps 1. Preliminary paper topic 2. Revised paper topic 3. Demographic briefing (What’s the situation? What does the data say?) 4. Theory and policy analysis (Why does the data look like this? What could be done?) 5. Final draft: Combining 1-4 (put it all together)
Getting Started 1. Keep it simple. 2. LEARNING/Product. 3. Data-driven topics. 4. One step at at time. 5. Re-think, re-create, and re-vise
Getting Started We all react differently to starting a paper:
Step 1: Review Assignment Using demographic data from the US Census or a comparable government source, report on one or more of these topics as it related to poverty/inequality: • Employment/unemployment • Earnings or Income • Location (city, county, state, etc) • Education • Disability CHOOSE ONE • Family Structure • Gender • Race, ethnicity or nativity Analysis should include a: • DYNAMIC (over time) or CHOOSE ONE • COMPARATIVE element (looking at two populations)
Step 1: Review Assignment Paper Part I – Demographic Briefing Papers should be no more than four double-spaced pages and include: 1. A brief introduction outlining the purpose and key points of the paper 2. A discussion of relevant context and definitions of important concepts, and 3. An original table or graphic displaying data from your research. **Support all statements of fact with references to academic, governmental or reputable non-governmental sources of information **Use language that clearly documents the situation without eliciting emotion or action. Let the facts speak for themselves
Step 2: Topic Selection • Employment/unemployment • Earnings or Income • Location (city, county, state, etc) Dynamic • Education • Disability Comparative • Family Structure • Gender • Race, ethnicity or nativity
Step 2: Topic Selection Typical Topic Selection Process Topic
Step 2: Topic Selection Data-Driven Topic Selection Process Topic
Step 2: Topic Selection • Employment and unemployment • Earnings, income, and poverty • Income or wealth distribution within a population as defined by gender, race, ethnicity, geography or some combination thereof • Example: wealth among African American men age 65+ vs. wealth among white men age 65+ in x geographic area • Example: Women’s versus men’s earnings in x geographic area • Example: Homeownership and wealth in King Co. vs. Pierce Co. • Wealth (or poverty) and taxes • Health and income • Education and income • Financial asset-holding • Home ownership and wealth • Children and poverty
Step 2: Topic Selection Helpful Hints: 1. DATA: Find data before getting too committed to a topic. 2. APPROACH: Pick a dynamic or comparative approach. 3. SCOPE: Narrow scope! Be specific.
Step 2: Topic Selection Topic example #1: “educational attainment and earnings among men and women in Snohomish County in 2011” 1. DATA: highest level of education achieved and annual earnings for men and women. 2. APPROACH: Comparative: men versus women. 3. SCOPE: Snohomish County in 2011.
Step 2: Topic Selection Topic example #2: “SNAP participation rates among poor households in King County before and after the recession (2007, 2011)” 1. DATA: households with income below poverty level, participate in SNAP? 2. APPROACH: Dynamic and comparative: 2007 vs. 2011, different areas of King County. 3. SCOPE: King County, 2007 and 2011.
Step 2: Topic Selection Suppose you were interested in children in poverty. • Comparative research question? • Dynamic research question? • How could you narrow your scope?
Step 3: Topic Introduction Papers should include: 1. Introduction: purpose and key points of the paper 2. Context and definitions 3. Data summary: Include an original table or graphic displaying data General rule: Tell them what you’re going to tell them. Tell them. Tell them what you told them.
Step 3: Topic Introduction Topic #2: SNAP in King County (Purpose) King County, as a case study, will be used to illustrate the broader trends in food stamp expansion during the recession and regional inequalities in food stamp access. Drawing from the American Community Survey 3-year estimates for 2007 and 2011, (Data) I will address differences in SNAP participation for both longitudinal and geographic dimensions. Following the demographic report, I will briefly overview the Recovery Act of 2009 in order to contextually frame two theories that aim to answer the empirical question: (Research question) Why are there regional disparities in food stamp participation in King County? To conclude, various policy responses designed to address existing inequalities in SNAP participation will be presented. (Plan of paper) Simply stated, I hope to (1) examine food stamp participation within King County, (2) present possible reasons to why regional disparities in participation exist, and (3) discuss current policy responses aimed at addressing the injustices.
Step 3: Topic Introduction Topic #1: educational attainment and earnings (Topic, purpose and data) This paper investigates the relationship between educational attainment and earnings among men and women in Snohomish County. Two questions are considered. (research questions) First, to what extent do gender disparities in annual earnings exist? And second, how might these disparities change with educational attainment? (Plan of paper) Following a brief demographic report exploring 2011 US Census data, I posit two complementary theories to explain this earnings inequality. Finally, using the context of these theories, I analyze two policies that aim to reduce gendered earnings disparity and offer suggestions of how each might be most successfully implemented.
Step 4: Context and Definitions Papers should include: 1. Introduction: purpose and key points of the paper 2. Context and definitions 3. Data summary: include an original table or graphic displaying data Beware of definitionitis! Try to work definitions into text naturally.
Step 4: Context and Definitions Definitions: • Define all of your terms and major concepts; don’t assume the reader already knows what you’re talking about • Discuss the source of the data and/or how it’s collected • Discuss limitations of data as needed
Step 4: Context and Definitions Topic example #1: educational attainment and earnings Context: Over the past century, women have entered the United States (US) workforce in increasing numbers (Zinn, 2005). More women also complete formal education, including graduate studies (Iceland, 2006). In fact, higher rates of women now graduate college compared to men (Coontz, 2012). These changes in women’s employment and education are noteworthy, because income has become increasingly related to educational attainment with the advent of deindustrialization, the technology boom, and globalization (Iceland, 2006). Still despite women’s achievements, puzzling gender disparities in earnings persist (Iceland, 2006).
Step 4: Context and Definitions Topic example #1: educational attainment and earnings Definitions: Of those over 25 years old (an age when most students have completed college), 486,230 persons were biologically male, and 246,103 were biologically female. Educational attainment is defined as the highest level of school completed and arbitrarily divided into five gradated, mutually exclusive categories. Finally, economic equality is examined using annual earnings. Within this framework, the female-male ratio of median earnings, ranging from 0 (no equality) to 1 (perfect equality), serves as a measure of gender disparity.
Step 4: Context and Definitions Topic example #2: SNAP in King County Context: During times of economic recession, entitlements like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) act as “automatic stabilizers” by broadly providing assistance to individuals and families in need (Gunderson and Ziliak, 2003). Regarded as one of the most responsive federal programs during economic downturns it is estimated that if SNAP benefits, commonly known as food stamps, were not in place the food hardships of the Great Recession would have been twice the amount actually observed (Pilkauskas, Currie, & Garfinkel, 2012).
Step 4: Context and Definitions Topic example #2: SNAP in King County Definitions: Our scope will be limited to households with income below the poverty level, which for the purpose of this essay will be referred to as “poor households”. Receiving roughly 93% of SNAP benefits nationally, poor households will act as a litmus test for participation in King County (CBPP, 2012). To determine the number of households falling below the poverty level, the American Community Survey (ACS) compares yearly household income with poverty thresholds appropriate for family size and composition (US Census, 2011A). Similarly, SNAP participation is classified as one or more members in a household receiving food stamps within the last 12 months (US Census, 2011A).
Step 5: Data! Tables, Graphs 1. Introduction: purpose and key points of the paper 2. Context and definitions 3. Data Summary: include original table or graphic displaying data Data can be fun!
Step 5: Data! Tables, Graphs Figures: • Using figures is a way to describe data, but: • Don't overuse figures • Make sure they're clear and necessary • Use only when they assist the reader in comprehending groups of data • Always refer to figures you insert • Number each figure • Give a concise title • Make sure categories are clear • Give source information in APA style
Step 5: Data! Tables, Graphs Figure 1. Median 2011 annual earnings for males and females over 25 years in Snohomish County by educational attainment. Adapted from the U.S. Census Bureau 2011 American Community Survey. What do you notice about this graph?
Step 5: Data! Tables, Graphs Helpful Hints: Don’t just show the graph--explain it! Support all statements with facts. Use clear neutral language. Let the facts speak for themselves.
Step 5: Data! Tables, Graphs Examination of 2011 US Census data revealed that the median male annual earnings in Snohomish County was $50,271, whereas the median female annual earnings was $32,412. The difference between these median earnings represents 55.1% of female earnings (US Census, 2011). Overall, females earned approximately 64.5% of the financial gains incurred by males. These differences in earnings become increasingly more evident when earnings are compared for men and women of similar educational attainment (see Figure 1). Men consistently earned higher incomes at each educational level (US Census, 2011). Furthermore, while male earnings increase steeply with each level of education, females do not show this same rate of increase.
Step 5: Data! Tables, Graphs Table 2. Comparison of SNAP participation rates among poor households in King County What do you notice about this table?
Step 5: Data! Tables, Graphs As shown in Table 2, SNAP participation rates among poor households has increased consistently across King County, with each region increasing by a net gain of approximately 4-6% (US Census, 2007; US Census, 2011B). It is important to note that even with an increase in SNAP participation county-wide it appears that the majority of households with income below the poverty level are not receiving food stamps. The highest percentage of food stamp participation by poor households is 55% in South King County. Even with the highest rate of participation in King County, nearly half (45%) of the poor households in Auburn, Federal Way, Kent, Burien, and Renton are not receiving food stamps despite meeting income eligibility requirements (US Census, 2011B).
Step 5: Data! Tables, Graphs When referring to figures in your paper • Don’t describe all of the data in the figure • Give the highlights • Always refer to the figure number: “Figure 1 shows…” • Never: “The figure on page three…” or “The figure above shows…” • Use numerals (1, 2, 5) to refer to figure numbers, not words (one, two, five)
Step 5: Data! Tables, Graphs Use #s when: • writing about percentages or other statistics • referring to a numbered table • numbers refer to population sizes or ages • the number is 10 or above Use words and #s when: • you’re rounding a number (Example: nearly 7 million) • you’re using numbers together in a potentially confusing way (Example: nineteen 14-year-olds)
Step 5: Data! Tables, Graphs American FactFinder http://factfinder2.census.gov Take the virtual tour! http://factfinder2.census.gov/help/en/american_factfinder_help.htm#
Tips for the whole paper: • Focus on organization • Use headings (Optional) • Use shorter sentences when possible • Back up claims w/data • 501 is a good assignment because you get to re-visit it several times to perfect it APA Questions? See Purdue OWLhttp://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/01/ UW Libraries’ citation guideshttp://guides.lib.washington.edu/citations
Additional Writing Support Erin’s Office Hours: Mondays 8:30-9:30am Mondays 12:30-5:00pm *Additional times may be accommodated. Please email: email@example.com to set up an appointment.
Due Friday 10/11 1. Preliminary paper topic: In no more than two double-spaced pages, describe the topic you will investigate for your class project. • What is the empirical question? • Why is this interesting to you? • What data will you use? • What is your hypothesis? • Explain why you believe this will be the case.