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EDUC 885 - Secondary Data Analysis (Fall 2019): Finding Data

Resources for finding secondary data; visualizing and analyzing data; and writing a data management plan.

Data Sources to Use Now

Education Data Sources

Data Sources to Use Later (Probably)

NCES Microdata

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) makes a great deal of data at the individual respondent level (microdata) available; however, researchers must apply for restricted access. Generally, such access is not available to students.

Census and Other Microdata through the Research Data Centers

The Federal Statistical Data Centers are a network of secure data enclaves across the country, usually hosted by a university.  Applications to use Census data therein usually take several months to process.  UNC is a supporting institution of the Triangle Research Data Center based at Duke University, which gives UNC applicants free access once their applications are accepted, a $15,000 benefit.  Currently data holdings include Census, economic and health data but other Federal agencies are in negotiations to make their data available as well.  Application requirements vary depending on the agency which provides the data, but Center staff are available to assist with applications.

Scraping Data

While many researchers are scraping web content to serve as their data these days, this is often a complex and very messy data source.  Obtaining the data may take a good deal of time and may cost money.  Consequently, this source may not work for the purposes of this class.  Consider attending some of the Library Data Services workshops for coding (R Open Labs and Python)--see more on the Getting Help tab.  If/When you get to the point of pursuing web scraping, ask your subject librarian for help obtaining permission.