It all depends on the question.... Reference Desk Survival Skills
Reference Mysteries 1.Define the topic: What does the user need? 2.Does the data exist? What are the appropriate discovery tools? 3.How do you get the data? 4.And how do you use the data/resources?
User Needs: Statistics/data flowchart... to do analysis Data file Print/e-source source available? Use source yes no Data available? yes * In this case, assume an authorized user under DLI license... to put in a report Use yes If they want numbers… Data file
Statistics or data? Nature of the user (shadling or PhD? time frame? Skills? DLI community?) Type of file: time series, microdata, spatial data, aggregate statistics Concepts involved Start with major issue & target population Focus on unit of analysis Add geographical and/or time period limitations to focus the search--cautiously 1. User Needs: Define the topic
Check the literature! –Use the language of stats and data (secondary analysis, empirical) and read table footnotes Whose responsibility is this? –Who is interested in tracking or studying the issue? (allows you to decide on appropriate search tools) Subject searching: –Use STC Online Catalogue, ICPSR topic search, ESTAT by subject, e/print guides Variable Searching: –IDLS, UT, ICPSR, Sherlocke, QWIFS… Use specialty databases: Census, CANSIM, Trade 2. Does the Data Exist?
3. Getting the Data The DLI Collection –Web/ftp, standard data products and release dates; other routes (remote submission/custom/RDC) Access to non-DLI data files –Gallop, ISR, Jim Jacobs! Order/download/deliver data to the user –Local service model
4. Using the Data Data interpretation: (Understanding variable definitions, missing variables, using weights, surveys with multiple files) Data manipulation (Subsetting, linking files, regressions and understanding user needs) Data citation
What kind of request is this? Do they need data or statistics? I need demographic stats and spatial files for my watershed area for 1991, 1996, and 2001. Reference Mysteries, #137 I need labour stats, income (preferably from private woodlots), age, children, & percentage working in agriculture, forestry, fishing/hunting
Indicate what resources or tools you would you think of using for this question. If you are able to come up with a suggestion for this user, indicate it What constraints have they provided? What further information would you like from this user?
Your Task? In assigned groups, take the one question provided to your group and brainstorm the questions asked. One person will be the recorder Select one (1) additional question from those posted around the wall and do it as a group.
Cookie Group Brian Siobhan Joan Mary Jessie Maple Donut Group Alberta Chuck Heather Doug