February 6, 2007

Early Childhood Longitudinal Survey, Birth Cohort (ECLS-B)

In January 2007, each student in FSoS 5014, Introduction to Quantitative Family Research Methods, was asked to summarize and evaluate information about a secondary data set used in the family field. The following summary was prepared by Jinhee Lee. [

Early Childhood Longitudinal Survey, Birth Cohort (ECLS-B)

2) Study purpose: Designed to provide information on children’s health and development in the early years of life. Issues addressed by the ECLS-B are children’s growth and development, children’s health status, and school readiness.

3) Principal investigators:
- The ECLS-B represents the efforts of the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) and several health, education and human services agencies such as U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and Economic Research Service (ERS).

4) Years during which data were collected
- Data collection for the ECLS-B is longitudinal. The same children are followed from birth through kindergarten entry. Information about these children was collected when the children were approximately 9-months, 2-years (2003), and in preschool (one year away from kindergarten, Fall 2005). In the Fall of 2006, data are collected from all participating sample children, 75% of whom are expected to be age-eligible for kindergarten. In the Fall of 2007, data will be collected from the remaining 25% of participating sample children

5) Number of waves of data, and ages of participants at each wave
- National sample of 10,688 children
- Wave I for 9 months; Wave II for 2 years; Wave III for 4 years; Wave IV for K; Wave V for Grade 1 (Response Rates: Wave I – 74%)

6) Participants (type and numbers) from whom data were directly collected:
- National sample of 10,688 children selected from birth certificates among population of U.S. children born in 2001; minorities oversampled
- Interviewed with primary caregiver, father, child-care provider, teacher, and child.

7) Types of data (survey, interview, observation, records, etc.)
- In-person interviews and assessments (Proxy reports were used through parent reports on child)

8) My assessment of strengths and weaknesses of the data set
- The main strength of the data set is that the longitudinal data provides chances for understanding child development over time. Also data about children, their parents, their child care providers, their teachers and school administrators provide opportunities for understanding children development across multiple settings such as home, school, and child care in terms of children’s cognitive, social, emotional and physical aspects.
- The weakness of the data set is that it does not include diverse ethnic/racial subgroups for multicultural study.

9) Accessibility of data to the research community
- Researchers who are interested in these data can use those data set. The first release, which includes the 9-month (1) parent interview data, (2) child assessment data and (3) father questionnaire data were released at the end of 2004. NCES will release data on subsequent waves approximately one and one half years after data collection ends.

10) My assessment of how useful this data set would be for family research
- This data set provides family researchers with chances for studying fathers’ parenting roles and influences on their children’s development. In this study, fathers' involvement in their children's lives is examined by directly gathering information from the fathers themselves.

11) Web site, and what kind of information is there:
- http://www.nces.ed.gov/ecls/birth/- Study Information / Instruments and Assessments / Data Information / Publications etc.

12) How does one gain access to the data?
- Due to NCES' confidentiality legislation, scholars need to obtain (or amend) a restricted data license to access restricted data from ECLS.


Posted by hgroteva at 1:20 PM

February 5, 2007

National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being (NSCAW), 1997-2010

In January 2007, each student in FSoS 5014, Introduction to Quantitative Family Research Methods, was asked to summarize and evaluate information about a secondary data set used in the family field. The following summary was prepared by Chris Gonzalez.

National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being (NSCAW), 1997-2010

2. Study Purpose

To study children who are in the welfare system and investigate the issues of abuse and neglect within the child welfare system. It was directed by congress and is a longitudinal study.
The NSCAW is designed to address the following questions:
• What paths do children follow into and through the child welfare system?
• What factors affect investigation, services, placements, and length of involvement?
• What are the long- and short-term outcomes for children and families in the child welfare system in terms of safety, well-being, and permanence?

3. Principal Investigators

RTI – Research Triangle International

4. Years during which data was collected

Data collection actually began in September of 1999 after 18 months of planning and ended 2003.

5. Number of waves of data, and ages of participants at each wave

4 Waves of data collected. Children were ages 0-14 at the beginning of the project.

6. Participants (types and number) from whom data were collected

The sample will include a cohort of 6,000 children and adolescents who have come into contact with the child welfare system. Data will be collected in 4 annual waves from the children, their biological mother, primary caregiver (if different), caseworker, teacher, and agency administrative records.

Both children who remain in the system and those who leave the system are followed

7. Types of data (survey, interview, observation, records, etc)

Face-to-face interviews or assessments
telephone interviews
questionnaires

8. Strengths and weaknesses of the data set

Strengths:
1. First study of its kind.
2. Makes efforts to even the sample by age, gender, and major ethnic groups.
3. Reports on a variety of kinds of abuses and neglect
4. Severity of abuse is also covered, not just type of abuse.
5. The survey covers a wide variety of topics such as: cognitive achievement, social functioning, psychosocial well-being, delinquency, and sexual behavior.

Weaknesses:
1. Does not cover ethnicities beside white, black, and Hispanics.
2. Severity of abuse measures seem to favor severity as defined by the kind of abuse as opposed to the effect the abuse has. The response to the abuse is also an indicator of the severity of the abuse. Also within severity should be the response of the person who the abused first told and when they told, if ever.
3. Any secondary data set is going to have the weakness of fit for the researcher. The challenge in using this data set will be like any other, can the researcher and the data marry?

9. Accessibility of the data to the research community

There are three access gateways for this data set.
1. General use – Good for researchers becoming acquainted with the dataset. Many of the identifiers have been removed. Requires ordering online and various proofs of IRB and so forth.

2. Restricted release – Available to researchers who can demonstrate a high need for the sensitive information contained within the data set. Requires an application that may or may not be accepted.

3. Student use - For use by students who under the supervision of a faculty member.

The following restriction applies: Only faculty and non-student research personnel at institutions which have an Institutional Review Board/Human Subjects Review Committee (IRB) are eligible to order the Data.

10. My assessment of how useful this data set would be for family research

I think that this data set is an excellent one to use for its specific purpose. Families who have contact with the child welfare system often have some challenges that are not common to mainstream families – whatever that means.

American families are becoming more complex and more varied as time moves on. There are more stepfamilies, adoptive families, families in which the parents are not married or are same sex, and single-parent families. Studies that focus on “specialty? families as opposed to the families being a subset of the major study, are going to produce more useful data for better and more use research reports.

11. Website, and what kind of information is there

1. Administration for Children and Families site: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/opre/abuse_neglect/nscaw/index.html• Overview
• Related Projects and Papers
• Data Collection Schedule
• Sample
• Data Availability
• Project Team

2. National Data Archive on Child Abuse and Neglect
http://www.ndacan.cornell.edu/NDACAN/Datasets/Abstracts/DatasetAbstract_11.html Has a downloadable description of wave I of the data and various pathways to gain access to the dataset.
12. How does one gain access to data?

Order the general use or apply for the restricted use data set from the National Data Archive on Child Abuse and Neglect website.

http://www.ndacan.cornell.edu/NDACAN/Datasets/Abstracts/DatasetAbstrac t_111.html

Posted by hgroteva at 8:42 AM

February 4, 2007

Los Angeles Family and Neighborhood Survey (L.A. FANS)

In January 2007, each student in FSoS 5014, Introduction to Quantitative Family Research Methods, was asked to summarize and evaluate information about a secondary data set used in the family field. The following summary was prepared by Ella Packingham.

The Los Angeles Family and Neighborhood Survey (L.A. FANS)

• Study Purpose: L.A. FANS is a study of families in Los Angeles County and of the neighborhoods in which they live. The purpose is to address research and policy questions in three areas: neighborhood, family, and peer effects on children's development, effects of welfare reform at the neighborhood level and residential mobility and neighborhood change.

• P.I.s: Anne R. Pebley (Director) & Narayan Sastry (Co-Director)

• Years during which data were collected: Data collection began in April 2000 and ended in mid-January 2002. Wave II data was scheduled to be collected in 2005-2006 (website said that “planning is underway for wave II, with fieldwork scheduled for 2005-2006?. The website was last updated on 12/21/05).

• # of waves, ages of participants at each wave: Two waves. Wave I included approx. 3250 households (3200 children and teenagers (age 0-17), 2500 Adults, and 2000 Caregivers). The website says that in Wave II, Wave I participants will be reinterviewed and that a cohort of “new entrants? into each sampled neighborhoods will be interviewed also. No further info about Wave II was given.

• Participants from whom data were directly collected: L.A.FANS is a multilevel survey, sampling neighborhoods, then sampling blocks within these neighborhoods, then families within these blocks, and finally sampling children and adults within these families (both adults and children were interviewed).

• Types of data: survey, interviews, cognitive assessments (administered to children ages 3 and 9) and in Wave II, collection of biomarkers of stress and health for sampled adults and children.

• My assessment of strengths and weaknesses of the data set: One strength of this study is that it focuses on low-income families and effects of neighborhood, welfare, and implications for policy change. The impact that neighborhoods have on children and families is a valuable thing to study. The way the L.A. FANS surveyed L.A. neighborhoods was comprehensive and random, it seems to be highly representative (from what I can tell), and when Wave II is completed, longitudinal data will be available and any long-term effects neighborhoods had on participants will become apparent. It is also a very large study with over 3200 households surveyed and low-income families were oversampled, giving us a better look at this section of the population. One weakness could be that there may be a great deal of missing data in this longitudinal study due to the fact that the researchers are studying neighborhoods (and the families within these neighborhoods) and many people will most likely have moved out of the neighborhoods by the time Wave II data are collected. The website addresses this concern and recognizes that this will be an issue.

• Accessibility of data to the research community: the public use data set is available via the L.A. FANS website.

• My assessment of how useful this data set would be for family research: I think this data set could be quite useful to family researchers as it is a comprehensive survey of what effect neighborhoods have on children and families, along with other variables like SES, family structure, etc. However, it is limited in its scope of families as it only focuses on families in the Los Angeles area.

• Website and what info is there: www.lasurvey.rand.org. Info regarding the survey’s purpose, design, P.I.s, public use data set access, F.A.Q., etc. A very extensive website, but it has not been updated since 12/21/05 so it is outdated and does not include any actual information regarding Wave II – only projected info.

• How does one gain access to the data?; Via the L.A. FANS website. Prospective data users are required to register on the website before gaining access to the data via an Internet download page.


Posted by hgroteva at 7:44 PM

Survey of Program Dynamics

In January 2007, each student in FSoS 5014, Introduction to Quantitative Family Research Methods, was asked to summarize and evaluate information about a secondary data set used in the family field. The following summary was prepared by Gregg Schacher.

Survey of Program Dynamics

Study Purpose: To collect data which will demonstrate the degree to which welfare reform initiatives have been successful. This is done through collecting data on the economic, income, family circumstances and social characteristics of a nationally representative sample over a ten year period (1992-2002). Goals include providing information on welfare program participation and its long-term impact (on recipients and their families) and monitoring potential long-term changes that result from implementing welfare reform.

Content: Core questions inquired about labor force participation, sources / amounts of income and program participation. In order to satisfy programmatic needs of other federal agencies each wave collected additional information that may not have been collected again. Examples include areas such as: child care arrangements, child support, health care, housing costs, marital satisfaction, parental depression, and adolescent questions about family conflict, vocational goals, independence, substance abuse, etc.

Principal investigators: A team of researchers from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Sources of data: Information was collected in the 1992 and 1993 panels of the SIPP (Survey of Income and Program Participation); information collected in 1997 used a modified version of the March CPS; and information collected from 1998 to 2002 used the SPD instrument.

Waves of data collection:
1992-1993 (these were survey data included in the first / last waves of the 1992/1993 SIPP panels)
1997 “Bridge? Survey
1998-2002 SPD Surveys

Participants (type and numbers) from whom data were directly collected:
1992/1993 - 35,291 Households (interviewed through SIPP panels)
The SIPP sample consisted of an annual selection of households (a panel) who were a nationally representative sample. All of the adults in those households were interviewed once every four months (this constituted a wave).

1997 Bridge SPD - 30,125 Households
The 1997 SPD bridged the gap in data between the close of the SIPP panels and the start of the SPD by recontacting the interviewed sample people from the 1992 and 1993 SIPP panels. The sample size for the SPD Bridge Survey was 34,609 households of whom 30,125 were interviewed.

1998 SPD - 16,395 Households (these were subsamples of the 1997 Bridge Survey)
1999 SPD - 16,659 Households (consisted of all eligible households from the 1998 SPD Survey)
2000 SPD - 18,716 Households (eligible household from 1999 and a subsample from those noninterviewed households from the 1997 sample)
2001 SPD - 22,340 (from eligible households from all SPD Surveys, a subsample from 1997 and noninterviewed households from 1992 & 1993)

Data collection: Most data were collected with control cards and questionnaires, some through interviews (although adolescents between the ages of 12-17 were interviewed directly and questions were administered by audio-cassette with the adolescent filling in an answer booklet).

Your assessment of strengths and weaknesses of the data set:
Some of these data are longitudinal, collected at three different time points over the course of ten years. The strength for those data is the collection of information over time. Some of the data were not collected at each wave and so there is inconsistency might present challenges to a researcher hoping to see longitudinal outcomes for those data. The types of questions and content areas seem to stress observable behaviors, particularly in relation to resources. This is both a strength and a weakness, depending on the focus of your research. For subjective relationship perceptions there were question about marital satisfaction and parent depression which was in contrast to the behavioral focus on other questions. Attrition rates were another weakness. In 1992/93 there were 35,291 households interviewed (73.4% of possible households) and in 2002 there were 12,496 households interviewed (53% of possible households).

Accessibility of data to the research community:
It appears that much of the data is available for download. However, there are indications that data can be purchased on CD which has the advantage of organizing some of the data categorically and comes with explicit documentation.

My assessment of how useful this data set would be for family research:
It would be very valuable when examining the economic, emotional, community-support, individual-functioning, and relationship impacts of a variety of assistance programs. Although the core questions focus on sources of income and employment in relationship to services received, there is also a host of questions related to such areas as child care arrangements, children’s educational progress, family structure, adolescent behaviors and outcomes, etc.

Web site: http://www.bls.census.gov/spd/
An overview, status reports, design information, survey content, data editing & imputation, information on searches, sampling & weighting info., how to use and link to files, publication generated by SPD data, quality profile, SPD news, user notes, user’s guide and tools to access SPD data. There is a bibliography of SPD-related research.

How does one gain access to the data:
The website offers a free software download called “DataFerrett? which allows users to create a data editing table. It appears that variables put into this table can be downloaded into a variety of different file formats, including SPSS. CD’s with Microdata files can be purchased, as well.


Posted by hgroteva at 7:39 PM

Early Head Start Research & Evaluation Project

In January 2007, each student in FSoS 5014, Introduction to Quantitative Family Research Methods, was asked to summarize and evaluate information about a secondary data set used in the family field. The following summary was prepared by Seongdok Kim.

Early Head Start (EHS) Research and Evaluation Project

• Study purpose
- Designed to evaluate effectiveness of EHS: fathers added to learn more about their role in low-income families. The Early Head Start Research and Evaluation project, random-assignment evaluation of Early Head Start, was designed to carry out the recommendation of the Advisory Committee on Services for Families with Infants and Toddlers for a strong research and evaluation component to support continuous improvement within the Early Head Start program and to meet the 1994 reauthorization requirement for a national evaluation of the new infant-toddler program.

• Principal investigators - Evaluation Team

Birth to Three Phase (1996-2001)
ACF contracted with Mathematica Policy Research, Inc. (MPR) of Princeton, New Jersey, and its subcontractor, the Center for Children and Families at Columbia University, Teachers College. Dr. John M. Love and Dr. Ellen Eliason Kisker of MPR and Dr. Jeanne Brooks-Gunn of Columbia University led the national evaluation team.
ACF also funded 15 local research teams to work with the Early Head Start research programs to conduct their own research on issues central to the local programs and to participate in many national evaluation activities (including providing field support for the national data collection).
The Early Head Start Research Consortium—composed of federal staff, national evaluation contractor staff, 15 local research teams, and directors of the 17 Early Head Start programs—was created to facilitate collaboration on issues related to policy, assessment, and the use of research and evaluation data.

Pre-Kindergarten Follow-up Phase (2001-2005)
In order to answer policy relevant questions related to child experiences after Early Head Start, ACF funded a Pre-Kindergarten follow-up of the children in the Early Head Start Research and Evaluation sample. In this phase of the study, 15 local research teams were funded to develop cross-site measures and collect data, while MPR was funded in the role of a Data Coordinating and Analysis Center in order to facilitate training, certification, and data consolidation.

Elementary School Follow-up (2005-2010)
ACF has funded a fifth grade (G5) follow-up study of the children in the Early Head Start Research and Evaluation Sample. MPR, along with the National Center for Children and Families at Columbia University and Educational Testing Service, will direct the fifth grade round of data collection scheduled to begin in the spring of 2007. The 15 local research teams will advise MPR on the study design, planning and assist with oversight of the data collection. Xtria will continue to provide support to the EHS Consortium and workgroup activities as they have in previous phases of the study.

• Number of waves of data and ages of participants at each wave
The Early Head Start Research and Evaluation project consisted of three phases: the Congressionally-mandated Birth to Three Phase, the Pre-Kindergarten Follow-up Phase, and the Elementary School Follow-up Phase.
Birth to Three Phase (1996-2001)
It included a cross-site national study that encompassed an Impact Evaluation and Implementation Study as well as site-specific research conducted by local research projects

* Impact Evaluation
A rigorous evaluation was designed to examine the impacts of Early Head Start on key child and family outcomes. The evaluation was conducted in 17 sites where Early Head Start research programs were located. Comprehensive data from multiple sources were used to examine the effects of participation in Early Head Start. Direct child assessments, observations of the parent-child relationships, and the home environment as well as interviews with parents about child and family functioning were conducted when children were 14, 24, and 36 months of age. Information on family service use was collected at 6, 15, 26 months after enrollment and at the time of exit from the program.

* Implementation Evaluation
The implementation study measured the extent to which programs implemented the Head Start Program Performance Standards by 1997 and 1999. Data for the implementation study came from many sources, including three rounds of site visits to the research programs, program documents, self-administered staff surveys, Head Start Family Information System (HSFIS) application and enrollment forms, and other documents and databases.

* Local Research Projects
The major focus for these local studies was the identification of what mediates and moderates positive child and family development within the context of the specific Early Head Start programs and local communities. These local research studies identified site-specific outcomes and examined intra-site differential impacts and their reasons for them.


Pre-Kindergarten Follow-up Phase (2001-2005)
In order to address important policy questions related to childhood experiences after Early Head Start, ACF funded the Pre-Kindergarten Follow-up Phase and awarded cooperative agreements to the same local universities funded during the Birth to Three Phase. These universities conducted cross-site and site-specific research, building upon earlier research and following the original children and families from the time they left the Early Head Start program until they entered kindergarten.

Elementary School Follow-up (2005-2010)
In the Elementary School Follow-Up phase, children and families will be assessed when the children will be fifth graders or attending their sixth year of formal schooling. Approximately 1,900 children, their parents, and teachers in 17 sites across the U.S. are expected to participate. The study includes direct assessments of children's cognitive, socioemotional, and physical development; parent interviews; teacher questionnaires; and videotaping of maternal-child interactions.

• Participants (type and numbers) from whom data were directly collected
- 3,000 low-income families with children born between September 1995 and July 1998 in 17 sites.

• My assessment of strengths and weaknesses of the data set
* Strengths
- One of the strengths of the data set is that it has comprehensive longitudinal study of the subjects via three stages. In doing so, the evaluation can track impacts of the Early Head Start project on infants (to 5 or 6th grade ) and their family. Secondly, the data set has a number of subjects. It includes about 3,000 children and their parents. In the last follow-up (Elementary school follow-up) expect approximately 1,900 children still. Thirdly, the evaluation project utilizes diverse evaluation methods including Infants- Toddler observation, parents’ interview, and teachers’ interview. Thus, it can measure impacts of the Early Head Start in more systematic ways. In addition, there are local research teams join the process of work that identified site-specific outcomes and examined intre-site differential impacts and their reasons for them.
* Weakness
- It may not grasp characteristics for the subgroups (i.e. ethnicity) among low-income families. Despite the same category, different ethnic subgroups might have different cultures on family norm and education that affect on children’s development (intellectual, cognitive, and socioemotional). Secondly, the data may not have the same or similar representation of children among states. Since this evaluation project is a longitudinal, there are dropouts from the project. However, the number of dropouts may different from states. In that case, the sample may not represent a whole population in states restricting validity of the results.

• My assessment of how useful this data set would be for family research
- The data is quite useful for family research since it provides comprehensive longitudinal data on children’s development through diverse evaluation tools. Given the importance of Early Head Start program, the data will provide critical understanding on the children’s development not only by the program itself, but also by interactions among family members.

• Web site, and what kind of information is there
- The website covers overview, evaluation design and components, and evaluation team of the project. The website provides information on Early Head Start Research Consortium, Fatherhood Research, Research Partners, unique features of the project for assessing impacts of an Infant-Toddler Intervention, and about Early Head Start. Also we can access to “Reports?, “Presentations and Papers?, “Instruments?, “Related Resources? related to the project.

• How does one gain access to the data?
- People can access to the data on the webpage at http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/opre/ehs/ehs_resrch/index.html


Posted by hgroteva at 10:59 AM

February 3, 2007

Fragile Families and Child Well-Being Study

In January 2007, each student in FSoS 5014, Introduction to Quantitative Family Research Methods, was asked to summarize and evaluate information about a secondary data set used in the family field. The following summary was prepared by Kim Diggles.

Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study (also called “The Survey of New Parents?)

Study purpose.
This study was designed to help inform not only interested researchers, but also relevant policy makers. Investigators hoped to shed light on four research questions:
1. What are the relationship dynamics between unmarried parents of a young child?
2. How are unmarried parents (especially fathers) able to provide and care for their young child together?
3. What is the well-fare of these young children born to unmarried parents?
4. How does the environment and family policy impact these families?

Principal investigators.
• Sarah McLanahan, Princeton University
• Christina Paxson, Princeton University
• Irwin Garfinkel, Columbia University
• Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, Columbia University

Years during which data was collected.
Initial interviews were conducted between the years of 1998 and 2000. One-year follow ups were done between 1999 and 2001; three-year follow up interviews were conducted from 2001 and 2003. Although they are not yet available for public access, the five year interviews were conducted between 2003 and 2005. (The expected release date for this wave is summer 2008.)

Number of waves of data and ages of participants at each wave.
Parents were interviewed at four different points, the initial one being at the birth of their child. Follow-up interviews were done when the children were ages one, three and five.

Participants (type and number) from whom data were directly collected.
Participants for this study included 5,000 children born between the years of 1998 and 2000 and their biological parents, representative of American cities with 200,000 people or more. It also includes an over-sampling of non-marital births.

Types of data.
The interviews asked parents to answer questions about attitudes, relationships, parenting behavior, demographic characteristics, health (mental and physical), economic and employment status, neighborhood characteristics, and program participation. Many of the questionnaires were selections from larger previously established scales.

Strengths of the data set
• The high frequency of the follow-up waves allows researchers to track change with more accuracy.
• The study sampled both married and unmarried couples which provides researchers with a comparison group.

Weaknesses of the data set
• This study only sampled families from highly populated cities in the US. It gives little information about those families residing in rural parts of the country.

Accessibility of data to the research community
This particular data set doesn’t really have a quick turnaround when it comes to making information available to the public. For example, the third wave of the study was conducted between 2003 and 2005. However, its accessibility will be prolonged fro three years. However, once it is made available it seems relatively simple to access.

Usefulness for family research
This study and data set is highly useful for family research because it explicitly deals with family dynamics and provides information about the dynamics of a less traditional family structure. It also serves to highly inform family policy.

Web site and what kind of information is there.
http://www.fragilefamilies.princeton.edu/
The website provides a wealth of information about the study design and access to questionnaires and codebooks. It also gives information about some of the recent publications that have been written using the data. There is also information about upcoming revisions and data release dates as well as relevant family news. Something that I found to be extremely helpful was the section that provided data alerts, informing users about the limitations of the study and how they can possibly rectify these as they do their own research; this section is also updated regularly.

How one gains access to this data.
To gain access to the public database, one has to first register through the OPR Data Archive (http://opr.princeton.edu/archive/restricted/default.asp). Access to the contract database requires a person to submit $250 and copies of multiple documents including an abstract stating the purpose of your investigation, a statement of approval from an IRB and curriculum vitae.

Posted by hgroteva at 7:13 PM

February 2, 2007

Panel Study of Income Dynamics

In January 2007, each student in FSoS 5014, Introduction to Quantitative Family Research Methods, was asked to summarize and evaluate information about a secondary data set used in the family field. The following summary was prepared by Anna Thurmes.

The Panel Study of Income Dynamics, PSID, is a longitudinal study of approximately 8,000 U.S. families that began in 1968 and continues today. This includes over 63,000 individuals across 36 years of their life span. It examines men, women, and children within their family units and focuses on economic and demographic behavior variables. Additionally multiple other psychological and sociological measures that may contribute child health and development are examined. There have been over 34 waves of data collection using questionnaires to conduct interviews. Interviews have been done face-to-face, over the phone, and now are computer based. The website, www.psidonline.isr.umich.edu, provides a great depth and breadth of information such as an overview, answers to frequently asked questions, and details related to the project including funding, the sample, and so forth. There are many data files available through the Data Center on the website, but some must be obtained via the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research. The Data Center is fully automated and allows users to download and merge files.

This data set is useful to family researchers. As described by Hofferth (2005), this data set includes multiple persons within families, extends across generation and household boundaries, measures change over time, and exists in a geographic context, especially when files are merged from the Child Development Supplement. There is a great wealth of information within this data set and the website provides a lot of information. For this reason, it takes a significant amount of time to learn about it. Weaknesses of the data include an over sampling of individuals who are black in the 1970s. It is also complicating and will take some time to learn the data set, since it has such a long history. It’s longitudinal nature, nearly 40 years, gives it great strength. Numerous processes can be examined, such as intergenerational transmission of poverty. The sample is culturally diverse, representative of the U.S., with over 2,000 Latino households represented. The study continues to expand to include more variables such as those related to health.


Posted by hgroteva at 5:22 PM