Short Paper: Simple Data Brief
In this lesson you were introduced to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) data and survey documentation. You learned about a unique aspect of NHANES, which is the collection of health interview, examination, and laboratory data. In the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) video clip presented in this lesson, you saw how mobile exam centers are used across the country to collect data. Later in the lesson, you reviewed the NHANES website to learn more about the different health topics addressed in the interview, exam, and lab portions of the survey. You should spend time reviewing what is available and think about aspects of the data you would like to examine.
Organizations like the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) create a variety of publications and reports for the public, as well as health professionals, researchers, policy makers, students, and more. These products often include the analysis of data from NHANES and other large datasets. One type of report NCHS creates is called a data brief. Data briefs focus on topics that are relevant to public health and present the key results in a concise written summary along with graphic elements.
In this assignment, you will practice basic analysis and graphing using the NHANES to generate a simple data brief on a health topic. You will need to use at least three datasets from NHANES – the demographic data file and two additional health topic datasets of your choice. Here is a link to one example of a data brief, Contribution of Whole Grains to Total Grains Intake Among Adults Aged 20 and Over: United States, 2013–2016 (Links to an external site.). Keep in mind that this professional product presents a sophisticated analysis that addresses multiple years of data. Your work for this assignment need not be complex, but should strive to model the accurate conclusions and concise format of the brief.
This assignment provides an opportunity to practice writing that conveys scientific findings clearly and accurately to general and professional audiences. For this assignment, you need to complete the following steps:
- Step 1: Identify three health variables of interest and at least two demographic variables of interest.
- Step 2: Clearly and accurately summarize the methods used to collect data on the variables.
- Step 3: Frame at least three questions about the variables. One question can be related to prevalence (or how common a condition is) and two should be related to examining associations between health behaviors and/or outcomes with each other and/or demographic characteristics.
- Step 4: Plan the appropriate descriptive and basic inferential analyses and complete any variable recoding or computing necessary.
- Step 5: Conduct descriptive and basic inferential analyses, as appropriate.
- Step 6: Clearly and accurately summarize the results of the analysis.
- Step 7: Create at least two graphical representations of the results.
You will also need to include in-text citations and provide a full reference list in APA format at the end of the data brief.
Step 1: Choose NHANES variables for your data brief.
- Choose two demographic variables and three health variables of interest from the NHANES questionnaire, MEC, and/or lab data to perform basic analysis and graphing. For this assignment, it is acceptable to use datasets that you’ve downloaded as part of the homework or you can choose others from the 2015-16 NHANES.
Important: Make sure that you understand the variables you choose. Spend time reviewing the documentation file and any analytical notes. Some variables are arranged such that they actually require the use of two variables to get a meaningful value. Alcohol use is one such example in which one question asks about the number of drinks and is its own variable but a second variable indicates frequency of drinking (day, week, month, etc. ) such that you would need to compute a new variable from these two if you wanted a measure of drinks per year. Be aware that you may need to recode and compute variables to conduct your analyses of interest.
- Download the necessary datasets.
- Merge into one data set by following the procedure in the lesson.
- Save the new data set to analyze.
- Write one brief paragraph introducing the topic and data.
Step 2: Summarize the data collection methods.
For each variable, describe how it was collected and among whom. You should base this upon the information provided in the documentation file for the datasets.
Step 3: Frame the questions.
State questions about your variables that can be answered with simple analyses presented in this lesson, such as correlation, t-test, chi-square or ANOVA.
- One question can be a prevalence question.
- At least two additional questions should be related to examining associations.
Step 4: Plan the analyses, recode, and compute.
- Create a plan to analyze the variables. Decide which Descriptives/frequencies/test of association make sense.
- Recode and compute as needed.
- Write one paragraph to describe the steps you took.
Step 5: Conduct the analyses.
- Conduct the analyses by following the procedures presented in the lesson. For some analyses, you may have an option to create a graph as part of the output and that is recommended.
- Write one paragraph to describe the analyses you performed.
Step 6: Describe the results of the analyses.
- Present the results of your analyze. You may either write a paragraph to describe the results or format them as Key Findings and present them in a bulleted list.
Step 7: Present at least two graphs to display your results.
Create a graph for at least two tests of association. Include a label that describes the graph or write a short description in a sentence following the graph. You may place the graphs together or place them after the Key Findings.
Written Response and Paper Format Directions
- Prepare your response in a word-processing document.
- Your complete essay should be a minimum of around 2 single-spaced pages (1-inch page margins and 12-point font), excluding your reference list, name, and title; there is no maximum page requirement.
- Your data brief should include the following sections. You may present the sections in the order below or reorganize them as you see fit for the best flow:
- An introduction that provides background about the topic and data.
- NHANES methods relevant to the variables in your brief.
- The questions your brief addresses.
- The methods you took to recode, compute, and analyze the data.
- The results of your analysis in a paragraph or list of Key Findings.
- Graphs with descriptive labels and/or sentences.
- Reference list.
- Cite ALL references as appropriate using in-text citations as appropriate and include a reference list at the end of your written summary. This includes any of the instructional material included in this lesson or the course. All answers and conclusions must be supported, as appropriate, with evidence and resources/citations using APA. Reference the Writing and Citation Resources for assistance.
- Use a professional writing style.