NACDA AGING UPDATE: GSA Pre-Conference Workshop 11/19/99

James McNally jmcnally at ICPSR.UMICH.EDU
Sun Nov 14 03:38:31 EST 1999

Dear 1999 GSA Attendees,

This is just a reminder that NACDA will be sponsoring a Pre Conference
Workshop at this year's GSA.  The NACDA Pre Conference Workshop will be
held on Friday the 19th of November from 1pm to 4pm at the San Francisco
Hilton Towers.  The workshop will discuss new initiatives in the
development of tools and techniques that will allow primary investigators
to manage their data more effectively for the protection of the data set
and its potential distribution to secondary users.  

As the list of participants has changed slightly since the publication of
the GSA Preliminary Program we wanted to provide an updated list of
presenters.  The workshop will present information on data preparation
tools and software, techniques for organizing documentation, web based
distribution of data and common pitfalls that primary researchers can avoid
when preparing their data for use by secondary researchers.  If you have
not preregistered we welcome you to join us at the on site registration. We
look forward to seeing you at NACDA's 1999 GSA Pre-Conference Workshop.

GSA Pre-Conference Workshop 11/19/99
"The Processing, Preparation and Distribution of Data:
Tools and techniques for the preparation of data for distribution and

Workshop Participants:

James W. McNally
email: jmcnally at

David A. Howell
email: dahowell at

James L. Peterson
Sociometrics Corporation
email: jpete at

Linda Washington
National Center for Health Statistics
email: lrw1 at CDC.GOV

Rapid increases in the volume of studies and surveys on the elderly have
begun outpaced our abilities to distribute and share these data with
secondary users.  One ongoing impediment to the release and distribution of
data sets on the aged is lack of standardization in the organization of
survey data analysis sets and the supporting documentation.  As survey
administration, coding and analysis often represent a work in progress, the
actual organization of the data for public or limited release occurs after
all other aspects of the study have been completed.  This often results in
the need to retroactively reconstruct steps taken intuitively by the
primary researcher and can delay the release of data as a result.  The
National Archive of Computerized Data on Aging (NACDA), with the support of
the National Institute on Aging, is developing a set of training materials
and guide books to assist primary investigators.  The ability to integrate
the process of data documentation and organization at archival standards at
the time of initial analysis will greatly enhance the value of data at both
the stages of initial analysis and upon release for broader use within the
research community.  

Purpose and Objectives
The purpose is to provide tools and techniques related to the organization
and development of primary data sources for later public distribution and
archiving.  Typically the organization of research data is a work in
progress.  Data is collected, entered and analyzed by the primary
investigators in a manner that is sufficient but often not systematic.
Time constraints and the need to use the information for research and
policy development often result in a greater emphasis on making the data
manageable for analysis and less emphasis on the systematic construction of
data files, and the documentation of codebooks, recode files and supporting
methodological information.  This is understandable as most primary data
collectors have limited resources and must concentrate their research funds
where they will provide the highest level return; the analysis data set.
Still, the inability to simultaneously develop supporting documentation and
codebooks when generation the analysis data set can result in concerns and
difficulties at a later date when the researcher attempts to reconstruct
information and processing steps from notes and programming output.  These
kinds of problems can result in significant delays in the release of data
to the broader research community and may make the process of preserving
the data through archiving problematic.

This workshop will provide primary data collectors the opportunity to learn
from experiences of senior researchers with extensive histories in the
collection and distribution of large data sets.  Covering issues of data
processing and documentation within both governmental and academic
research, and social and biomedical sciences, the workshop will offer tools
and techniques that are relevant across a broad spectrum of
interdisciplinary research.  The workshop will be particularly useful for
researchers just beginning their careers as primary data collectors but it
will also have value for experienced collectors of primary data. The
ultimate goal of the workshop is to begin the process of developing a
standard set of protocols for the organization of independently gathered
data on aging.  The workshop will offer the opportunity for research with
an aging focus from a variety of disciplines to meet and discuss concerns
and resolutions to problems related to the preparation of data for
analysis, distribution and archiving.

James W. McNally, Ph.D.				Office: 734-998-9820
NACDA  Director					Fax:    734-998-9889
National Archive of Computerized Data on Aging	
426 Thompson Street, 				email:jmcnally at
Ann Arbor MI 48109-1248		  

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