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Chapter 6 - Step 1: Select Dataset & Variables Tab
The Step 1: Select Dataset & Variables tab is the screen used for selecting and searching through datasets for variables. This chapter will discuss and show you the many different functions available in this step of the DataFerrett data selection process.
Data is processed in four different formats types. By default DataFerrett has all types checked and available for use. View the description of each type by checking the box to its left. If you uncheck any of the types, you will eliminate all the available datasets to just the checked format. Click on the Refresh Dataset List to get the results in the pane below.
You can select the TYPE of data you wish to work with: MicroData, Aggregate (summarized) data, Longitudinal Data, or Time Series Data. A description of the data is displayed with each checked box. Check the box(es) in front of the types of data you would like to display and search. Click on the Select button. The Select Dataset(s) to Search pane will reflect the type of data that corresponds to your checked selections.
The Select Dataset(s) to Search: pane of the Step 1 screen will show which surveys are available by organization or dataset name. Click on the plus (+) sign next to the folders to open to the datasets for that title.The small black arrows in the separator bar will expand the List of Datasets window, and return it to original size.
Open the plus signs down to the bullet level. A searchable dataset is indicated by a bullet. Click on the View Variables or the Description.
Description will show the technical documentation that the provider or the collector supplied to the DataFerrett. This may also include the logo and link to the provider or collector's web site.
View Variables will bring up the dataset's topics. Select the View Variables fly out. This will put up the topics for variables in this dataset. You can Select All Topics or individual topics. Click Search to get variables.
You can also find variables by using the Keyword Search.
After you have clicked on the Search button the Progress Message will tell you how many variables have been found and is returning from your search. You can hit cancel if you feel the number will be too large, and you can refine your search.
Want to make a change? The clear the search string area and add your text and click the Search button to begin another text search. Or, you can click the Empty DataBasket and you can start the search process over completely. This will be discussed later in this users' guide, after you have variables in your databasket.
List of Returned Variables window
Below you will see the variables that return on a search on the word Education in the CPS March Supplement, 2004. The results of your search will appear in the columns next to the Select Survey(s) to search: pane and will list the variable's contents with its: Topic (type of variable), the Name Mnemonic) of the variable, its Availability (the period of time for when the variable is valid from) and the Variable Label (short description of the variable).
The Availability column shows a year and a hyphen. If there is another year after the hyphen it means that the variable was available ONLY during those years. If there is no year after the hyphen then the variable is still being asked exactly the same way today.
NOTE: to search over time, select more than one month or year. Please be aware of the Availability of your variables time period (i.e., Availability) and that the availability of the variables correspond with the rest of the variables that you have chosen.
Sorting by ascending order may be accomplished by clicking on the gray column head. You may also drag the columns wider or narrower depending on the information you may need to view. The columns may also be rearranged in any order by holding down the left mouse key while clicking on the column head and dragging to the desired position.
With the return of large or small numbers of variables you can manage your view several different ways:
The number of variables that are returned can be very, very large depending on your search parameters. (e.g., the "word" sex or "race" is used as a part of and is in many variables. Consequently, searching could result in thousands of variables being returned. Those are typically a variable categorized as a demographic topic variable.
By clicking on the arrows indicated below, you can open up the list of Datasets pane or click the other arrow and open the list of returned variables and see the full description of those variables as it would run off your screen.
— Highlight the variables you are interested in—
Once you click on and highlight a variable(s) in the list of variables returned from a dataset search, you will see that the green Browse / Select Highlighted Variables button become active.
To see which variables and values you have available to be selected, click the green Browse / Select Highlighted Variables button to view the variable's full description, universe, and response values specifically. You may also double click individually on a variable to browse its values and universe. This will pop up the Browse Variable window which will be discussed more in Chapter 7.
Empty Data Basket Button
Want to begin again? Start Over? Click on the Empty DataBasket button if you want to begin the variable search process over from the beginning. This will return to the default selections in the search area, it will clear all the variables listed in the highlight variables pane, and if you have added any variables to your databasket. You can then begin searching through another dataset for variables.
The DataFerrett does not allow for co-tabulation between other datasets at this time. When you have selected variables from a dataset, you will notice that all the other datasets in the Select Datasets to Search pane will gray out and become unavailable.
The Search feature at the top of the Step 1 will allow the choice of selecting to search by the Variable or the Dataset. The Variable Name check box should be clicked as default or a search can be made by the Variable Topic. The search is quite literal and will not return any variables if the input for searching is not exact. Question text and value text searching will be activated in the future.
The i button pop-up will give instructions for the Select Dataset & Variables tab.
For more information on Types of Data see Chapter 15.
Last update: 3/12/10