Use the Census Pulse Survey to perform an analysis on a topic related to the pandemic and social inequality
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You will use the Census Pulse Survey to perform an analysis on a topic related to the pandemic and social inequality. The Census Pulse Survey is an on-going survey representative of the U.S. population. It is our single best source of quantitative data in the United States on the COVID-19 pandemic. It gathers demographic and socioeconomic data on the U.S. population along with a wide range of information on the effects of the pandemic on U.S. households.
The following website is the main landing page for the Census Pulse Survey:
You can find the Census Pulse Survey questionnaires (and other technical reports) here:
Before starting to analyze the data from the Census Pulse Survey, it is imperative that you familiarize yourself with the subjects included in it. You can do so by skimming the questionnaires associated with each phase of the survey. Please do not try to read each questionnaire in depth. It is enough to open a few of them to get a feel for the types of questions that the survey asked, so that you can get an initial feel for what kinds of analyses would be possible with the survey.
Phase 1: Data collection for Phase 1 of the Household Pulse Survey began on April 23, 2020 and ended on July 21, 2020 https://www2.census.gov/programs-surveys/demo/technical-documentation/hhp/household-pulse-survey-questionnaire-week1-5.pdf✎ EditSign
Phase 2: Data collection for Phase 2 of the Household Pulse Survey began on August 19, 2020 and ended October 26, 2020. https://www2.census.gov/programs-surveys/demo/technical-documentation/hhp/Phase_2_Questionnaire_11_2_20_Updated_English.pdf✎ EditSign
Phase 3.1: Data collection for Phase 3.1 of the Household Pulse Survey began on April 14 and ended on July 5, 2021. https://www2.census.gov/programs-surveys/demo/technical-documentation/hhp/Phase%203%20Questionnaire_02.25.21_English.pdf✎ EditSign
Phase 3.2: Data collection for Phase 3.2 of the Household Pulse Survey began July 21, 2021 and ended on October 11, 2021. https://www2.census.gov/programs-surveys/demo/technical-documentation/hhp/Phase_3-2_Household_Pulse_Survey_FINAL_English_SKIPS_081821.pdf✎ EditSign
Phase 3.3: Data collection for Phase 3.3 of the Household Pulse Survey started on December 1, 2021 and ended on February 7, 2022. https://www2.census.gov/programs-surveys/demo/technical-documentation/hhp/Phase3-3_Questionnaire_12_01_21_English.pdf✎ EditSign
As you skim the questionnaires, you might notice that some of the questions change across phases of the survey. This is because of the dynamic nature of the pandemic and the need for new information as circumstances change. For example, later phases of the questionnaire ask about vaccination status. Later phases of the survey also ask respondents to self-identify as members of the LGBT community and include questions about the impact of stimulus payments and the Child Tax Credit. There are also some questions that have remained consistent over time, such as questions on housing security, food insecurity, employment, and physical and mental wellbeing.
Given the timeliness of the information coming from the Census Pulse Survey and the fact that few public policy officials have advanced quantitative analysis skills, the Census Bureau has already prepared spreadsheets with some basic information using the survey data. These are the spreadsheets we will use for this assignment. The learning goals here are multifold. You will first learn how to work with basic quantitative data in spreadsheets. You will also see just how easy it is to generate fairly sophisticated survey data reports without the need for advanced statistical training.
You can find all spreadsheets with data from the Census Pulse Survey here:
All spreadsheets are organized by the week during which the survey data were collected.
After skimming the questionnaires and clicking through some of the spreadsheets with data from the Census Pulse Survey, think about a social research question that you can answer with these data. Formulate a hypothesis based on your research question and identify the appropriate dependent variable(s) and independent variable(s) to answer your question. Note that not all research questions can be answered with the Census Pulse Survey, but you will have access to plenty of data to complete your report. We will go over many examples in class of how to complete this assignment. You are also welcome to come to office hours to troubleshoot any problems. I have found that email is not the best way to communicate about problems with this assignment. I highly encourage you to start working on your ideas for this assignment ASAP, so you could come to office hours should you need help.
After you formulate your hypotheses, find the variables in the Census Pulse Survey spreadsheets and generate two tables and two graphs to show the relationship between the dependent and independent variables. Your first table should show the bivariate relationship between one dependent variable and one independent variable. Your second table should show the bivariate relationship between one dependent variable and one independent variable. Your choice of dependent and independent variables will be driven by your research question. You may have the same dependent variables for your two tables. You may also have the same independent variables for your two tables.
After you set-up your tables with the numbers coming from the Census Pulse Survey, percentage them appropriately (remember: we always percentage within the categories of the independent variable). Then plot those percentages in two separate graphs.
Your first graph should plot the percentages from your first table. Your second graph should plot the percentages of your second table. Save the tables and the graphs to your computer (or a place online where you can access them for later use, e.g. Google Sheets, OneDrive, etc.). Make sure to save your work frequently.
Introduction: Begin your research report by identifying the social phenomenon that you studied. State your research question and your hypotheses. Then identify your dependent variable(s) and independent variable(s). Make sure to phrase your hypotheses in a way that makes it clear whether the relationship between your dependent variable(s) and your independent variable(s) is either negative or positive. (3 points)
Methods: Describe your dataset (i.e. the Census Pulse Survey), the types of tables that you created, and the types of graphs that you created. Make sure to note the time period (i.e. week) from which your data come. Also, make sure to copy and paste into your paper the text of the survey question(s) on which your dependent variable(s) is(are) based. (1 point)
Findings: Present your findings, by describing the patterns in your tables and in your graphs. Were your hypotheses supported by your findings? Make sure to paste your tables and your graphs in the write-up of your report. All graphs and tables need to have a title. All graphs need to have clearly labeled axes. (5 points)
Conclusion: Summarize your hypotheses and your findings. Discuss the strengths and weaknesses of your study. What general conclusions did you draw from your study? (1 points)