M Cecil Smith, Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies, and Lucas Moore,
Director of the Program Evaluation and Research Center are collaborating to establish the Secondary Analysis Lab as a resource for CEHS faculty
members and graduate students. The purpose of the Lab is to both encourage and
support the utilization and analysis of a wide variety of education and social
sciences data sets to address important education and social policy questions.
Every year, federal and state agencies gather population-level data on a variety of children, youth, and adult populations. Examples include the National Household Education Surveys (National Center for Education Statistics; https://nces.ed.gov/nhes/), the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Heath (Add Health; Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD); http://www.cpc.unc.edu/projects/addhealth), and the Monitoring the Future Study (University of Michigan Institute for Social Research; http://monitoringthefuture.org/).
Many of these data sets are archived and available for education researchers and social scientists to use but, unfortunately, many such data sets are under-utilized.
A principal advantage of secondary data analysis for the investigator is that relevant data have already been gathered and are organized for analyses, rendering great savings in time and money. Although there are some limitations to secondary data analysis (i.e., not all relevant variables will be captured in a particular data set), the ease with which studies can be conducted and subsequently published is particularly advantageous.The Secondary Analysis Lab will:
- assist faculty members to obtain data sets of interest;
- provide secure data storage for all data in compliance with data owners’ standards for data security;
- train faculty members and graduate students in secondary data analytic methods;
- provide statistical and methodological expertise and consultation to faculty members
and graduate students using secondary data sets for research.