Why is Data Analysis Important? • Shorthand for describing our world • Quick and easy method for: – Measuring change and the impact of change – Test theories, models and other ideas – Microscope for identifying unique groups and underserved populations • To do good…Make positive things happen Why is Data Analysis Important to YOU? • Needs Analysis • Program Planning • Program Evaluation • Grant Applications • State/Federal Requirements • To do good…Make positive things happen What Analysis Data Cannot Do Data analysis cannot: – Make decisions – Answer all your questions – Represent everyone or everything – Provide passion for an issue Where to Begin? “Oh Data Where Art Thou?” Primary Data Secondary Data (Data you collect) (Data others collect) • Client reports • U.S. Census Bureau • Surveys • PA. Dept. Health • Focus groups • School districts • Financial records • Etc…etc….etc… • Etc..etc…etc… American FactFinder • One stop shop for most Census data • Able to compare different geographies • Easy to use data download features American Community Survey (ACS) • Replaces the Census Bureau’s “Long Form” • Available annually for Schuylkill and all counties with more than 65,000 residents. • Available at municipal level every five years starting in December 2010 What Data Source Should I Use? • Don’t let the data Selection Criteria Does the data include: define the problem • Target population • Geographic relevancy • No one data source • Time: historic & current has all the answers • Descriptive indicators • Usable format • Methodological • Data always has legitimacy/creditability limitations Data Manipulation 101 Simple Complex (Descriptive) (Explanatory) • Mean • ANOVA • Median • Correlations • Percent of total • Chi Squares • Percent change • Regression • Cross-tabulations models • Per Capita Data Manipulation Tips… • Do not ignore definitions or data collection methods • Always understand who is being measured • Use statistical methods you understand and can explain • Be consistent in your analysis • Cheek for mistakes • Check for mistakes Tips for Data Analysis For Income, Use Focus on central the median tendencies Adjusted dollars Whenever for inflation possible, report multi-years of data Check & recheck for accuracy Show regional, state, or national comparisons Use per-capita ratios Clearly report Report data limitations percentages & bias Data Tips For Working with Small Populations • Use per capita; per 1,000; per 100,000… ratios • Combine multi-years of data • Develop a profile of the “average” client or household How can Ringtown Borough have a crime rate of 2,625 per 100,000 resident when the Borough’s population is only 762? Type of Reported Crime Offenses Larceny-Theft 2 Vandalism 2 All Other (Except traffic) 16 Total 20 20 offenses / 762 pop. = 0.02625 0.02625 x 100,000 = 2,625 Schuylkill County, 10,513 reported offenses: rate of 7,139 per 100,000 pop. Statewide, 1,007,659 reported offenses: rate of 8,095 per 100,000 pop. Data source: U.S. Census Bureau & PA State Police Tips for Identifying Trends • For most indicators change is slow and incremental • Many trends are deeply rooted within demographic and economic changes (symptoms vs. causes) • Its easier to identify trends once they’re over than in the middle • Small populations can fluctuate wildly year-to- year • Support your arguments with Tips for factual statements Reporting Data • Do not torture or romanticize data • Keep issues in context by discussing relationships and linkages • Don’t be an alarmist or an ideologue • Graphs, tables and maps can be useful– as long as they are intuitive or explained • Apply the K.I.S.S. principle to graphs, tables, and maps More Tips… Word/Data Ratio Every paragraph you Less is More write will require 30 to 60 Too many numbers on a minutes of data crunching page may cause reader to have blurred vision and/or drowsiness Data Cruncher’s Creed Remember that numbers represent real people with real needs! Exercise: Can You Explain? 1. Nearly 18 percent Schuylkill County adults (age 25+) do not have a high school diploma. Does this mean the county schools have a high dropout rate? 2. In 2008, why was the average household income in Schuylkill County more than $8,500 higher than the median household income? 3. In January 2010, Schuylkill County had an unemployment rate of 10.7 percent. The statewide rate was 8.8 percent. Does this mean Schuylkill County has the state’s highest unemployment rate? 4. In 2008, Schuylkill County had a child poverty rate (<18 years old) of 16 percent. The same year, 37 percent county’s public school children were eligible for the Free & Reduced School Lunch Program. Why the gap? 5. From 2000-08, the number of African Americans increased nearly 40 percent, while the number of Whites declined 3 percent. In 2018 will Schuylkill County whites become a racial minority?
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