Exploring Society By The Numbers

How to use DataCounts!

Frequently Asked Questions about DataCounts!

General Information

What is DataCounts!? What is SSDAN? What is Census in the Classroom?

What is WebCHIP? What is StudentCHIP?

What kinds of topics can be explored with DataCounts!?

How do I obtain datasets and class exercises (modules)?

For what levels or kinds of courses are DataCounts! datasets useful?

Can you help me research my family history?

WebChip Technical Support

In the "browse by year and dataset name" section, I don't see my dataset in the pull-down menu. Where is it?

It looks like I'm already in one of the collections, but it isn't the one I want. How do I choose a different collection in the "browse by year and dataset name" section?

After I click Select Files or Submit Query, WebCHIP doesn't load. What's wrong?

WebCHIP loads, but only displays a gray box. WebCHIP loads, but I receive a message that says "applet not initialized" in the status bar. What's wrong?

Datacounts! Technical Support

The Datacounts! site looks funny and/or I can't see it properly. What's wrong?

I can't select text on the DataCounts! Site.  Please help!


General Information

What is DataCounts!? What is SSDAN? What is Census in the Classroom?

DataCounts! provides easy access to a wide range of demographic and social science datasets, primarily intended for use in the university-level classroom. DataCounts!, which supports and updates the Census in the Classroom project, is maintained by SSDAN, the Social Science Data Analysis Network.

For more information, see the About page.

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What is WebCHIP? What is StudentCHIP?

WebCHIP and StudentCHIP are the software programs used to access the DataCounts! datasets and implement classroom modules. StudentCHIP is available for licensing through ZetaData and is a stand-alone, desktop-based program. WebCHIP provides much of the same functionality in an Internet-based version.

For more information, see the About page.

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What kinds of topics can be explored with DataCounts!?

Our datasets are drawn from the U.S. Decennial Census and include variables such as: race-ethnicity, gender, immigration status, earnings, education, occupation, cohabitation, full and part-time work, among many others. Some of our datasets permit the analyses of trends over the census years from 1950 to 2000. A larger number of files permit more in-depth analyses of population groups and geographic areas from the 1990 and 2000 U.S. Censuses. Selected questions from the General Social Survey are also available.
 
For more detailed information, please refer to the glossary.

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How do I obtain datasets and class exercises (modules)? 

We wish to make examination copies of all of our materials available to any instructor who requests them for possible use in a course that he/she teaches. Via SSDAN's main website, you can request a free examination copy of the student workbook Investigating Change in American Society. Also, from this website, you can download datasets and exercise modules developed by other instructors in the network.
 
PLEASE NOTE: The StudentCHIP software, included on the disk that you receive if you request a startup package, is for your own personal use for evaluating our datasets. It is subject to site license, and cannot be freely distributed to your students. However, Ruth Bogart, commercial developer of StudentCHIP, has made it easy and inexpensive for you or your bookstore to order student copies. They can be obtained for approximately $5 per copy, and be ordered in an expedited manner from: Ruth Bogart, Zeta Data, 25 Haskins Road, Hanover, NH 03755, 603-643-6103, ZetaData@aol.com.
 
In contrast, the SSDAN census datasets (on your disk) can be freely distributed to your students and colleagues, however are not for commercial purposes. These datasets are the main products of this project, along with the classroom exercises, and will continue to be updated. In fact, both current and updated versions of these datasets will continue to be downloadable from this Website.

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For what levels or kinds of courses are DataCounts! datasets useful?

Our datasets are useful for all levels of social science courses. Our philosophy in producing these datasets is to make data analysis accessible to students as early as possible in the college curriculum. While our datasets and exercises can certainly be used in upper-level statistics or methods courses, we have tailored them to be appropriate for lower-level courses. In fact, we encourage instructors to introduce a data analysis component into early social science courses that have never included one.

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Can you help me research my family history?

Datacounts! and SSDAN in general focus on recent (1990 and later) demographic data from the Census and other sources. We have some aggregate-level trend data from 1950 to the present, but none of our data can be separated to the individual or family level. The datasets that we provide are intended for an audience interested in social science and demographic issues and not suited for genealogical research. A good website to help you in your family history research is Cyndi's List of Genealogy Sites.

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WebCHIP Technical Support 

In the "browse by year and dataset name" section, I don't see my dataset in the pull-down menu. Where is it?

You must first choose a dataset collection. After you choose a collection, the menu will update to display the datasets (or subcollections) in that collection. If you are unsure what collection. you need, refer to the dataset glossary or double-check your class exercise.

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It looks like I'm already in one of the collections, but it isn't the one I want. How do I choose a different collection in  the "browse by year and dataset name" section?

Click the "Reset" button to start over. After I click Select Files or Submit Query, WebCHIP doesn't load. What's wrong? WebCHIP requires the use of Java applets, which must be enabled on your computer. If applets are disabled, you should enable them before using WebCHIP. Contact your local computer technician if you are unfamiliar with enabling Java applets. In a rare number of cases, WebCHIP does not work properly with some browsers or Macintosh systems. SSDAN recommends trying Internet Explorer and/or a PC system for the use of WebCHIP.

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WebCHIP loads, but only displays a gray box. WebCHIP loads, but I receive a message that says "applet not initialized" in the status bar. What's wrong?

Datasets can take up to 30 seconds to load; be patient! If have selected the "enter dataset by name" option, check to make sure that you entered the dataset's name correctly and in lowercase letters. Don't forget the dataset's extension (.dat, .ny, etc.). Be sure to include the entire file path, including the collection name(s) (e.g., cen2000/asnusa2k.dat or geo2000/edocc2k/edocc2k.de).

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Datacounts! Technical Support 

The Datacounts! site looks funny and/or I can't see it properly.  What's wrong?

Datacounts! is not compatible with some older browser versions, specifically Netscape v. 4.x, though it should be compatible with MozillaFirefox and most versions of Microsoft Internet Explorer.  We do not have a copy of every single browser in existence, so if you are having trouble viewing it in a particular browser, please contact us to let us know.  Until then, download the most recent version of Firefox or Internet Explorer

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I can't select text on the DataCounts! site.  Please help!

If you are using Microsoft Internet Explorer, you may encounter problems when trying to select text. Please try another browser, such as Mozilla Firefox.

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Additional questions and answers will be posted as they arise. If you have a question about any aspect of DataCounts!, please let us know!

SSDAN can be contacted via email for questions or comments specific to DataCounts! at ssdan@isr.umich.edu

©2009 DataCounts!