Dr. Sarah's Web Polls and Census Info Solutions

Purpose and Directions Searching the web for info can be frustrating, but also very rewarding. In this assignment, you will continue to develop your advanced web searching techniques (see Homer Simpson Tax Lab and stock market homework) to search for info on polls and the 2000 census. To alleviate frustration and increase chances for succuss, work in a group and turn in 1 paper per group. Be creative in your searches, as sometimes the obvious word to a search will not provide an answer. In longer pages, be sure to use the Edit/Find command followed by the repeated use of the Edit/Find Again command to find ALL uses of a word that you are searching for in a given page BEFORE you answer a question. Your grade will be based on how many questions you answered correctly and completely, and the clarity and depth of your writing and explanations, so take your time to think carefully and discuss the issues in your group before writing down an answer! You may attach extra pages if you need more room for explanation.

Census Info Click on this link and then use Edit/Find as directed above:

How will the Census Bureau collect info on the homeless?

  • Which commands did you use for Edit/Find command in the census info page and what did you find out? Explain in detail. Command I used was homeless What kind of data will the Census Bureau provide on people without conventional housing? For Census 2000, the Census Bureau will produce only one category showing the number of persons tabulated at "Emergency and transitional shelters."JJ People enumerated at shelters for abused women (shelters against domestic violence or family crisis centers), soup kitchens, regularly scheduled mobile food vans, and targeted nonsheltered outdoor locations will be tabulated into the category "Other noninstitutional group quarters population."J The category will include people enumerated at: * Shelters with sleeping facilities, low-cost hotels and motels, and hotels/motels used by cities to house the homeless regardless of cost. E. How will we collect information on people without conventional housing? An operation called Service-Based Enumeration (SBE) is designed to provide people with no usual residence, who might not be included through other enumeration methods, an opportunity to be enumerated. Additionally, people with no usual residence will be able to pick up Be Counted questionnaires at selected non-SBE service locations, such as travelers' aid centers and health care clinics.

    Will people of mixed racial or ethnic heritage be able to identify themselves on the census form?

  • Which commands did you use for Edit/Find command in the census info page and what did you find out? Explain in detail. Command I used was racial - I searched repeatedly until I found Will people of mixed racial or ethnic heritage be able to identify themselves on the form? Yes. In October 1997 the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued revised federal standards for collecting and presenting data on race and ethnicity. Among other changes, the standards allow respondents when answering the race question option to "mark or select one or more races." The OMB made this modification after considering recommendations from its Interagency Committee for the Review of Racial and Ethnic Standards, information obtained through public hearings and other sources of public opinion, and test results from the Census Bureau and other federal agencies.

    Is the Census Bureau allowed to use sampling?

  • Which commands did you use for Edit/Find command in the census info page and what did you find out? Explain in detail. Command I used was sampling and I searched repeatedly until I found the following: .How does the Census Bureau plan to use sampling now that the Supreme Court has prohibited its use? On January 25, 1999, the Supreme Court upheld 195, Title 13, United States Code, prohibiting the Census Bureau from using statistical sampling to determine the population count for congressional apportionment purposes (No. 98-564, Clinton, President of the United States, et al. v. Glavin et al., on appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia). Though the Court's decision does affect the way in which the Census Bureau uses sampling to collect additional information, the Census Bureau will use a sampling ratio of about one long form (sample) questionnaire for every six households to obtain sample data on content as it has in previous censuses. We plan to include sample questions on place of birth, work status last year, income, ancestry, monthly rent, veteran status, disability, plumbing and kitchen facilities, and others. This sample for content provides the necessary data to produce a wide array of information redistricting data is based on 100% data only and on demographic social and economic characteristics of the population as well as the physical and financial characteristics of the housing inventory.

    For the 2000 census, could people fill in census info online?

  • Which commands did you use for Edit/Find command in the census info page and what did you find out? Commands: I searched using online and found nothing. I searched using computer and found nothing relevant. I searched using fill and found nothing relevant.
  • Go to this census search page link and conduct a search there to find the info. What did you type in that allowed you to find a page that answers this question? What is the answer?

    I clicked on the option to search the full text (instead of just the titles and keywords) and then searched using online AND fill in AND census Then I clicked on the link described as Census Bureau, Census 2000, Director Prewitt press briefing on November 22, 1999 website CENSUS DIRECTOR KENNETH PREWITT: Good morning. Our current mail response rate, as you know, stands at 55 percent, and as you also will recall our operational and budget planning was based upon a resp... http://www.census.gov/dmd/www/apr4pressbr.html Size: 62 K, Score: 80%

    When I used the Edit/Find in Page Command, using online, and searched repeatedly for this word. I found the following:

    QUESTION: In light of all these attempts to raise the response rate, I'm wondering why the agency has downplayed the ability of recipients of the short form to answer their questionnaires online?
    MR. PREWITT: Did you say why we haven't? Downplayed it, I'm sorry, I didn't quite hear you.

    Planning a census does take about 10 or 12 years. We already have major committees at work planning the 2010 census. This census started to get planned in 1990. The operations are actually very big and complicated. And the Internet, of course, in 1989 was not a prominent part of American society. And we had to put our operations out there. As we got closer to this census, and realized that the Internet was an opportunity that we should be using, we made it available. That is, we decided to design some software, make it available for people to do the short form. We then asked ourselves exactly the question you're now asking, to what extent should we publicize it and promote it?

    The decision that we made is that because the Internet is, at this stage, very inequitably distributed across the American society, and since our focus was on especially getting people we have a hard time reaching, we would spend all of our advertising dollars trying to reach the population groups which we had reason to believe would be undercounted. Those we do not believe are going to be the Internet responders. We think that the Internet responders, whether that number is 60,000 or 6 million, are people from whom we would have gotten a paper form. Therefore, we're going to get their answers, we ought to spend our time and effort trying to get the answers from the people we might not get an answer from. So we made that simple decision. We're a reasonably cautious organization. We do not like to put new, big operations in place where we haven't had a chance to test them. And at that stage, this is in 1998-99 when this conversation came up, we had not yet had the opportunity to test Internet responses in a census environment. So we thought the most prudent thing to do was to allow it, to test it, to see how well it worked, and then to decide on the basis of that how major a push to put by 2010, and I'm sure we'll put a major push on it in 2010.

    So it's a long, convoluted answer, and I apologize for that. But it's not because we didn't want them, it's because we wanted to make sure they would work well. We had to worry about encryption, of course. We have now a heightened conversation about privacy in the country. And we wanted to make certain that we would have nobody who would say, oh my goodness, somebody else got my answer, because I filed by Internet. So we had to be extremely cautious. And that's why we downplayed it slightly for 2000.

    Harris Polls

    Go to this Harris/Excite Poll link.
  • Describe the poll, the polling population, and the biases. I won't describe the poll since everyone answered this part correctly. The polling population is people who have computers who choose to take the poll (after they find it!). This is an extremely biased method of finding a polling population. In addition, people can vote more than once. Also the question was worded "should the U.S. use force to seize Slobodan Milosevic in order to try him at the war crimes tribunal in Hague". People probably don't know what Hague is. The phrasing of seize is rather inflamatory...
    Use this Altavista link to search for the Harris Poll Online.
  • What are the biases involved with the way that Harris does online polls in general? What did you type in to Altavista that allowed you to find a page that answers this question?

    I typed in +"Harris Poll Online" and found the page http://vr.harrispollonline.com/register/ It told me that: Policy makers, business leaders and the media rely on the Harris Poll to produce accurate, reliable information on topics as diverse as our participants. In fact, the Harris Poll has surveyed millions of people from more than 90 countries in the past 40 years.

    Now we'd like to know what you think! Here's your invitation to participate in our convenient, new way to take the public pulse--the Harris Poll Online. Unlike old-fashioned surveys, the Harris Poll Online produces accurate, reliable information at Internet speed. As a member of the Harris Poll Online, you'll get to express your opinions when you wish, rather than when we wish.
    This last paragraph has the biases right in it!

    USA Today Polls

    Go to this USA Today polls and surveys link.
  • Summarize the contents.

    USATODAY.com frequently publishes the results of both scientific opinion polls and online reader surveys. Sometimes the topics of these two very different types of public opinion sampling are similar but the results appear very different. It is important that readers understand the difference between the two.

    USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup polling is a scientific phone survey taken from a random sample of U.S. residents and weighted to reflect the population at large. This is a process that has been used and refined for more than 50 years. Scientific polling of this type has been used to predict the outcome of elections with considerable accuracy.

    Online surveys, such as USATODAY.com's "Quick Question," are not scientific and reflect the views of a self-selected slice of the population. People using the Internet and answering online surveys tend to have different demographics than the nation as a whole and as such, results will differ -- sometimes dramatically -- from scientific polling.

    USATODAY.com will clearly label results from the various types of surveys for the convenience of our readers.

    Rest of polling stuff has similar issues as above

    Circle Sampling Proplem from the Textbook

  • Compute the average diameter of the circles and show your work.
    Add up all the circles and divide by the total number of circles to get .501666666667
  • Close your eyes and drop a pencil onto a new circle page, marking the circle that you hit, until you have marked 20 circles. Why is this not a random sample of 20 circles? What are the biases? Compute the average diameter.

    Biases: Circles of larger area are more likely to be hit since they take up more of the page. Sometimes one can't see the mark left. Sometimes the pencil hits blank space instead of a circle. One is more likely to hit circles in the center of the page as most people will subconsciously be worried about missing the paper altogether and will then concentrate on the center, even though their eyes are closed...

  • Use the Table of Random Digits to choose a sample of size 20. Why is this a random sample? Compute the average diameter.

    Biases: This method has none of the biases mentioned above. Each circle has an equally likely chance of getting hit since the table is of random digits.

  • If I performed a trial run of the two methods for a sample size of 1 billion circles, which resulting average diameter should be closer to the true average? Why?

    Since the table of random digits method isn't biased, over the long term, it should yield more accurage results.

  • When I performed one trail run of the two methods for 20 circles, the average diameter from the pencil drop method was closer to the actual average than was the average for the random sample method. Assume that I did everything correctly. Explain how the pencil drop method could obtain an average diameter closer to the true average when the pencil drop method is a biased method.

    In the short term ANYTHING can happen.

  • Compare and contrast your average diameters and relate this information to the bias information and to the number of circles in each sample.

    Compare your numbers to see which was closer to the true average. Did the answer change depending on your sample size?