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Summary of Changes to SED Publications

The application of data suppression methods in 2007 to tables reporting race/ethnicity/sex data by fine field of degree significantly reduced the utility of that data to SED data users. In 2008 NCSES (formerly SRS) began outreach efforts to learn about the data needs of the SED data-user communities and to solicit feedback on alternative data-reporting strategies that would improve data utility and protect the confidentiality of respondent data. The findings from those outreach meetings are summarized in column one below, and the features of the new data-reporting strategy—which employs field aggregation procedures—are summarized in column two.

What Data Users Said New Data Reporting Strategy
Important to show small counts of underrepresented minorities Confidentiality protected by aggregating fields of study with small numbers of doctorate recipients rather than by suppressing data cells with small counts
Zeroes are important; need to display zeroes Zeroes are displayed
Not useful if underrepresented minorities included in aggregate counts Underrepresented minority groups are reported separately
Lose data and ability to follow trends if aggregate years together Data are reported for single years
Field aggregation must be meaningful; CIP* a possibility for this purpose CIP* is used to inform the aggregation of small fields
Not making full use of data if include multi-racial in Other category Those indicating "two or more races" are reported separately
CIP=Classification of Instructional Programs

The field aggregation disclosure protection strategy has been applied to a small but important subset of SED data: statistical tables that report counts of doctorate recipients by fine field of degree within race/ethnicity and/or sex categories. These tables appear in three SED publications: the S&E Doctorate Awards report, the Research Doctorates Awarded to U.S. Citizens and Permanent Residents, by Race/Ethnicity, Sex, and Fine Field of Study (known as the REG tables), and the report Doctorate Recipients from U.S. Universities (formerly known as the Interagency Summary Report).

The changes to this small set of tables necessitated changes to additional tables in these three publications and to tables in other NCSES publications that report SED data. The changes are summarized below, organized by SED publication.

SED Publication Changes to Tables in Publication
REG Tables
  • An NSF publication, as of the 2007–08 edition
  • Separate tables for male, female, and total doctorate recipients within 8 race/ethnicity categories: Native American/Alaska Native, Asian, black, Hispanic, white, 2 or more races, other/unknown race/ethnicity, and all races/ethnicities combined
  • All tables use field aggregation procedures
S&E Doctorate Awards
  • Two tables use field aggregation procedures
  • New race/ethnicity category (2 or more races) added to 3 tables
  • Major groupings of engineering fields changed in 10 tables
  • Counts for physics and astronomy combined in 5 tables
Doctorate Recipients from U.S. Universities
  • An NSF publication, as of the 2007–08 edition
  • Two tables use field aggregation procedures
  • New race/ethnicity category (2 or more races) added to 19 tables
  • Major groupings of engineering fields changed in 7 tables
S&E Degrees
  • The subfields of study reported in 2 social science tables (sociology, other social sciences) and 6 engineering tables (chemical, civil, electrical, materials science, mechanical, and other engineering) are changed
S&E Degrees, by Race/Ethnicity
  • New race/ethnicity category (2 or more races) added to 5 tables


Last updated: January 20, 2011



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