Searching odesi

<odesi> Interfaces

<odesi> has two different interfaces: a catalogue and a data repository (also known as Nesstar). From the catalogue you can search and browse over 13,000 metadata records down to the variable level, and preview data in the repository. From the repository you can download data and documentation, run cross-tabulations, and analyze microdata.

The Catalogue

Home Page: From the home page, you can search through <odesi> survey data. To return to the home page at any time, click the <odesi> logo in the top left corner of the page.

Browse: This link will take you to the Nesstar repository, where you can browse available surveys.

About: Here you can find helpful information about <odesi>, including learning resources and background information about the platform.

My List: When searching <odesi>, you can add specific surveys to your personal list. You can then export the citations for these surveys into Refworks or Endnote, or email them.

The Data Repository (Nesstar)

In <odesi> data is stored in a repository called Nesstar. This repository allows users to view and work with microdata files without the need for specialized statistical software. When you search through the catalogue, you can view data from surveys you are interested in by clicking “Explore and Download”, which will take you to the survey data in Nesstar.

In Nesstar, surveys are sorted first by topic. Click the ‘+’ icon beside a topic to view its contents. They are grouped first by country, then by series title, and then year of production. From here, you can:

  • Search and browse data, metadata, and associated documentation
  • Apply survey weights and perform cross-tabulations
  • Perform correlation and regression analyses
  • Graphically represent data sets and subsets as tables, charts, or scatter plots
  • Download customizable data sets into a variety of formats, such as SPSS

Each file has two sections: the metadata, and the variable description.

The Metadata contains information about the survey, including:

  • The Study Description, which tells you things like when the survey was done, who participated, and who is allowed to use the data
  • The Data Files Description, which lists the files that contain raw survey results
  • The Other Documentation, which contains the questionnaire used by the survey administrator, guides for using the data, errata notes, codebooks, the syntax, or any media publications

The Variable Description contains all of the questions in the survey, divided into discrete sections. Click on any variable will give you an aggregate view of the frequencies.

Basic Search

  1. In the Odesi search page text box, enter the keyword(s) you wish to include in your search.
  2. Select where you would like to search for this keyword in the dropdown menu to the right of the search box. To search everything, leave the selection as ‘Anywhere’.
  3. To add additional keywords to your search, click the + symbol to add a new text box. Repeat the previous steps in this new search box.
  4. If required for your search, select the date range that you would like your search results to fall under.
  5. Select the parts of the collection that you would like to search in using the checkboxes. By default, all of the main categories will be selected.
  6. Click the blue Search button. In a moment, your search results should appear below the Search button.
  7. You should now see your search results. To the right of your search results, you can limit your search results based on keyword, series, or frequency.
  8. If you would like to save specific results, click the + symbol that is below the search result to the right, and you can then email these results to yourself for later by clicking the My List tab on the top right of the page.
  9. If you would like to see more information about a study, you can click the title of that study to see an abstract, the study description, documentation, and all of the survey variables. To access the dataset in the Nesstar repository, click Explore and Download. A new window or tab will open.
  10. In Nesstar, you can view the variable information by clicking Variable Description in the menu on the left side of the page.
  11. To download the dataset, click the save symbol (represented by a floppy disk) in the upper right side of the page. To do more with your dataset in Nesstar, check out our Working with Data section.

Advanced Search

In <odesi>, you can use a number of strategies to refine your search:

  • Choosing a search field: To increase search precision, instead of searching in ‘Anywhere’ you can select Variable/Category, Survey Title, Keywords, Abstract, or Series. The ‘Variable/Category’ Label lets you search survey questions and all the possible responses to these questions. This information provides a wealth of detail about what is contained in the dataset.
  • Boolean Search : Use the operators OR, AND, NOT or NEAR between words to create more complex queries. Using parentheses within a search box to enforce order of operations will not work in <odesi>; instead, place each of your ‘concepts’ onto a different line. For example, if we want to search (smoking OR drinking) AND health, we would do the following in <odesi>:
  • Phrase Search: Surround phrases in quotes e.g. “health care costs”
  • Wildcard: Use a * or ? to expand your search to include all words that begin with the letters you type. ? matches exactly one character, while * matches any number of characters. E.g. he? will match only words like hem and hen, while he* will match he, hem, help, hello, etc.
  • Stemmed search: The system automatically performs a “stemmed search”, which searches for all words with the stem you typed. This is based on word meaning, not spelling. E.g. searching for running will automatically return run, running, and ran. Note that if you use a wildcard (described above), word stemming no longer occurs. If you do not want word stemming to occur, use a phrase search instead.