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Research Brown Bag Recap – August 2016

In case you didn’t know, the Office of Institutional Research has begun hosting “Research Brown Bag” sessions on the 2nd Tuesday of each month. Generally, these are informal Q&A sessions to help understand institutional research and answer any questions about how the research process can contribute to your work.  We’ll be posting a summary of each session to this blog, recapping the topics we covered and websites we shared.

The last session covered an in-depth tour of the Institutional Research & Planning (IRP) webpage, where most of our reports and data are published. We strongly encourage you to visit the IRP website because it includes a lot of publicly available information.

The other agenda item involved using DataMart, a software service provided by the Chancellor’s Office that lets you query institutional data much like we do in the research offices.  DataMart contains the same Management Information System (MIS) data that we use on campus, so you can guarantee it is reasonably accurate. After learning the basics of DataMart queries, you should be able to find information related to a number of things, including student outcomes, enrollment, services, instructional programs, and more general institutional data. More advanced techniques allow you to disaggregate the data according to demographic characteristics like age, gender, and ethnicity.  DataMart is great for finding detailed information about a specific type of outcome, but any requests to examine data across multiple categories will still likely need to go through Institutional Research or IRP.

We also provided a brief tutorial for using Doodle, a free online scheduling tool.  There’s no sign-up required. Basically, you can enter any number of proposed meeting times, and Doodle will generate a link you can give to the meeting attendees so they can vote on or list their availability.

During the last session, someone asked about a map that displays all of the potential “feeder” schools in our area. Although we weren’t able to find the original website mentioned during the brown bag, there are some alternatives that still provide this information.  One suggestion was to use Zillow, which does provide an option for searching for schools in the surrounding area, and GreatSchools also provides a useful map that can be organized according to the unified school districts.  If you have any additional suggestions for websites that let you search for schools, feel free to comment on this post.

There was also a question about finding success and retention data in case faculty would like to see this information for the specific courses they have taught.  This information is available in a few places, but the most immediate source is the Success and Retention page of the IRP website, where you can open disaggregated reports to see the rates for a given course during a given term. If you want to disaggregate these results further than what’s shown on the webpage, you can use our customizable data tool available through the MyECC portal (go to “Areas” then “Institutional Effectiveness” then “Institutional Research and Planning”).  If you would like comparative or trend analyses that are beyond the scope of these online tools, feel free to complete a Research Request.

There were also various suggestions for what kinds of content people would like to see us post on the blog in the future.  Some suggestions were:

  • brief professional development opportunities (e.g., YouTube clips or web guides)
  • current issues in institutional research (local, regional, statewide, and national)
  • in-depth Q&A for specific topics that came up during the Brown Bag (feel free to use this blog post to ask questions as well!)
  • brief summaries of committee meetings attended by IR or IRP

We can’t make any promises just yet, but please feel free to provide any additional suggestions for the type of content you’d like to see on these blog posts.  Our next Brown Bag is scheduled for Tuesday, September 13th, and we welcome any suggestions you have for topics that you’d like to see us cover.

Stay tuned for future Brown Bag Recaps and other research-related blog posts!