2014-2015 Annual Usage and Service Report
July 1, 2014 to June 30, 2015
Table of Contents
Founded in 1972, the Social Science Research and Instructional Council (SSRIC) is the oldest of the affinity groups in the California State University system. With representatives from each of the CSU campuses, the Council is dedicated to assisting students and faculty in their learning, teaching, and research by:
The SSRIC is the CSU systems’ clearinghouse for social science data, notably data from the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR), The Field Institute, and the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research. These sources provide data to support quantitative social science teaching, research and service by students, staff and faculty, and well as sponsored programs and grant development by CSU research centers.
All the functions described above are performed by faculty representatives as a service. Dues requested of individual campuses primarily defray data subscription costs.
The Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) is the largest social science data repository in the world. It is the primary source of social science data for every research-oriented university and nearly every other university and college in the United States. Data access is online and interactive under the ICPSR Direct system. The following table summarizes utilization by campus from 2006-07 through 2014-15.
During academic year 2014-15, 9,888 datasets (731.3 gigabytes of data) were downloaded from ICPSR by CSU students, faculty, and staff. These totals represent a substantial increase in usage from the prior year, which represents the low point in the series. This ended three straight years of decline which may have been due in part to a decline in the number of data base workshops provided to campuses by the SSRIC. This decline is, in turn, the result of a near zeroing out of the Council’s travel budget. The growth was a notable “return to form” for some of the larger campuses (Fullerton, Long Beach & Northridge), which offset declines at other large or medium campuses (notably Los Angeles, Sacramento and San Diego).
In addition, usage data always requires one important proviso. A single download may be used in a class with many students, but only shows on the usage chart as a single download. Additionally, a single faculty member may download a study to be used for research by multiple faculty members.
ICPSR maintains a series of topical archives that allow the user to analyze data using the SDA which was written at UC Berkeley. SDA is an online program that allows individuals to access particular studies that have been set up for this program. The table below shows the number of times that SDA data files in the ICPSR were accessed by CSU campuses. With the exception of the 2011-12 academic year, SDA use continues to slowly grow, with 2014-15 having the second highest usage in the series.
ICPSR also offers an extensive summer program in quantitative analysis. The following table summarizes the number of faculty and students that were enrolled in the ICPSR’s summer program from 2006 through 2015. The number enrolling in 2015 was the the highest since 2009.
Roper Center for Public Opinion
The Roper Center provides public opinion data for the nation and the world. Studies go back many decades providing the opportunity to do longitudinal research. The CSU established a system wide membership in the Roper Center in October, 2004. From October, 2004 through September, 2005 the CSU was limited to 50 data sets per year and data had to be ordered through one point of contact. Starting in October, 2005, CSU students, faculty, and staff could download Roper data directly to their desktop through RoperExpress (similar to ICPSR Direct). This resulted in a large increase in utilization of Roper data.
The following table summarizes the number of data sets that were downloaded from the Roper Center archive during 2006-07 through 2014-15 by CSU students, faculty, and staff. In 2014-15, 1,106 datasets were downloaded. The Roper Center also offers iPOLL which is a data base of survey questions which can be used for trend analysis and to select data sets for downloading. The table also reports the number of times that students, faculty, and staff used iPOLL. In 2014-15, iPOLL was accessed 855 times. In 2014-15 dataset usage was at its highest point since joining the Roper Center.
The CSU maintains a membership in the Field Institute which provides our students, faculty, and staff access to both current and past Field polls. The Field Institute is one of several state polls that provide current public opinion data for the state on issues of interest to policy makers, researchers, and students. In addition to access to these polls, our membership in The Field Institute provides one faculty member with the opportunity to place 12 questions per year on a Field Poll.
The CSU contracts with UC Berkeley to provide access to the data sets we receive from the Field Institute. The following table provides information on the number of times that students, faculty, or staff accessed the Field archive at Berkeley. The table below shows the number of times that a person logged onto the Field archive to look for or download data for the 2005-06 through 2014-15 academic years. During academic year 2014-15, 2,063 Field data sets were accessed. This represented an increase from recent years, and most activity was concentrated at just a few campuses.
The SSRIC sponsors an annual student research conference for both undergraduates and graduates where students can present their research in a supportive setting. For many students, this is their first opportunity to present their research at a professional conference. The 2014 conference was held at Fullerton with 79 presentations from 16 participating campuses. The 2015 conference was held Sacramento with 72 presentations from 16 participating campuses. The following table summarizes student research conference activity for the years 2007-2015.
The SSRIC Web site is online at www.ssric.org . The site consolidates and expands information previously scattered on servers at the Bakersfield, Los Angeles, and Pomona campuses. The new site makes it much easier to communicate information about resources, events, and services provided to students, faculty, and staff through the Council. The site offers among other things: