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CUIN 7303 - Professional Seminar I

This guide is intended to introduce you to information and tools relevant to educational research

Using Social Explorer

Using Maps

Let's say we are interested in finding income data. The information below demonstrates how to retrieve income data from specific geographic areas on a map.

  1. From the social explorer home page under “United States” select “Explorer”

Screen shot of the social explorer main maps page

  1. You can zoom in to the area you like using the scroll wheel on you mouse, much like you would in Google Maps
    1. You’ll notice as you zoom that the level at which the data is being shown will change to smaller areas automatically.

Screen shot of social explorer's data selection interface

Zip code is an option, and so is Unified School District. If you want to turn off the automatic change in level, you can select one of these other options.

  1. Up here is where you’ll want to click to change the type of information that is being displayed.

3. When you select “Change Data” you’ll see this drop down

  1. These are the categories of data that are available to you for the year you are looking at. We're going to select Income, 3rd option on the left.
  2. You can always select different years here. The available data categories in A will change accordingly.

Screen shot of social explorer's survey source selection interface

  1. Once you’ve selected a category, your drop down will look like this instead.
    1. This is where to look to see what data set you’re drawing from. ACS 5 year will show up first by default, but as you scroll down 3 and 1 year estimates will show up, and every 10 years so will the Census.
    2. If you’ve already got a category selected, you’ll see a check box here indicating that category is illustrating the current map.

The current options show breakdown for different categories of income, but we can scroll down a little further and get median income.

Screen shot of the social explorer map interface showing physical location of options

  1. Once you have a desired map displayed there are a number of helpful features
    1. When you hold your mouse over a given area, you’ll have this pop up display to give you the specific numbers for that tract or zip. It’s a good idea to note the Census Tract numbers for the year you’re looking at if this is what you’re using. (They can change from year to year) This will help when you go to download tables.
    2. The share button will give you a permalink back to this map that you can share.
    3. Export will let you create a copy of the map for you to save. You can scale the size of the image, file format and other image quality aspects.

Getting Tables

Getting Tables

Now that you’re able to get maps from Social Explorer, it’s time to get Tables. These are especially important for those categories where the visual representation of one variable leaves a lot of information out (for example, with race, you know the representation of one race in an area, but the remaining portion could be composed of any number of races).

In this example, let's get household income ranges

  1. From the Social Explorer home page, select Tables near the upper left.
  2. For information 2000 and prior you’ll want to select US Decennial Census, for information in more recent years you’ll want to select American Community Survey (ACS).
  3. Select “Begin report” for the year of interest. For ACS, the latter year listed will be the one that matches that year in the maps you were downloading.
  4. Under the drop down for “Select a geographic type:” you want 140 Census tract, or 860 for Zip or 960 for Unified school district Let's select Zip.
  5. Select ZCTA3 770 (this just represents the first 3 digits for the zip code.  If you're doing Census Tract or School district you'll need to select a state: Select Texas)
  6. Select a County (if asked): Select whichever county covers the area you’re looking at.
  7. In “Select one or more geographic areas and click ‘add’:” find the census tract based on the numbers you noted from your maps earlier (if you’re looking for Census Tracts). You can select multiple tracts by holding down the CTRL key and clicking on each one. If you’re using Zip or School District you can select those instead. In our example, we select ZCTA5 77004 (ie 5 digit zip)
  8. Select the Add button. You should see the selected tracts/zips/school districts show up in the “Current Geography Selections” box.
  9. Repeat 6-8 for any additional tracts/zips/districts covered by other regions.
  10. Once all your areas are selected, click the “Proceed to table” button
  11. You can stroll through the list of tables to select all of the topics you need information on. You can select multiple topics by holding down the CTRL key and clicking each one. Then click Add to include them in your list of selections.
  12. You can also click the “Search By Keyword” Tab to do keyword searches of the topics. Then just select the ones from the results list and click Add. Click on this and search for income, then select A14001. Household income
  13. When you have all the tables you want from that year, click “Show Results”
  14. If you select the Excel Tab you’ll be able to download an excel file of the data that was displayed.
  15. Repeat this for any additional years of data that you require.