Project News

April 4, 2018

IPSDS webinar series

Last year, IPSDS started an online Brown Bag seminar, where one of our participants presented his work project. We enjoyed such a format a lot and would like to continue organizing such meetings. Our next presenter is an external guest Maura Bardo who is a mathematical statistician at the U.S. Energy Information Administration. She will be talking about her current project, where she works on identifying and integrating alternative sources of data with the EIA survey of retail gasoline stations (see an abstract and bio below).

Title: Linking a Retail Gasoline Price Survey with Commercial Data

Maura Bardos (Energy Information Administration), Amerine Woodyard (Energy Information Administration), Jeramiah Yeksavich (Energy Information Administration)

Abstract:

As a part of ongoing modernization efforts, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) is conducting research on utilizing third-party sources to supplement publicly available data. EIA is uniquely situated since a number of its surveys collect information that is also compiled and sold by commercial vendors. These commercial vendors can provide almost real-time frequency of data that when linked with surveys, have the potential to reduce respondent burden and enhance data products. However, much is unknown about vendor’s sector visibility, data definitions, processing, and data quality. This study examines an example of integrating of survey and commercial records for a weekly business survey.

The Motor Gasoline Price Survey (EIA-878) is a weekly mandatory survey of about 800 retail gasoline stations across the country. The data collected are used to create point-in-time estimates of gasoline prices at the national, regional, and selected state and city levels by grade and formulation, resulting in 276 published price estimates. Data collection, processing, and dissemination are completed within the same day. In summer 2017, EIA obtained two commercial sources of gasoline price data for research purposes. EIA purchased price data from a commercial vendor for about 110,000 stations. We also created a tool to obtain gas prices via a crowdsourced website.

We use geospatial analysis to match survey data at the station-level to commercial records and present descriptive statistics on linkage rates, availability of prices, and data quality for the commercial sources. Using the matched file, we compute estimates by city, state, and region over time and analyze the congruence between the EIA-878 and commercial sources. Based on this research, we provide an assessment of the extent to which commercial sources could be incorporated into the EIA-878. We conclude with a discussion of implications for future efforts to integrate survey and commercial datasets.

Bio:

Maura Bardos joined the Office of Survey Development and Statistical Integration at the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) in 2016 as a Mathematical Statistician. In this role, she focuses on statistical methods for petroleum and natural gas projects. The work presented today is one component of a larger redesign of the motor gasoline price survey, which includes frame research, sample design, and statistical systems development. Prior to EIA, Maura held roles at Mathematica Policy Research, Abt SRBI, and the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan. She is a graduate of the Michigan Program in Survey Methodology.

 

March 1, 2018

The Global Women in Data Science (WiDS) Conference comes to Mannheim

The conference aims to inspire and educate data scientists worldwide, regardless of gender, and support women in the field. This annual conference is held at Stanford University and 100+ locations worldwide. This year, WiDS will also take place in Mannheim, organized by the International Program in Survey and Data Science (IPSDS) with the support of P3 and Mannheim Business School. The event will take place on March 8, 2018.

For more details on the program and speakers, please visit the WiDS page.

 

October 21, 2017

International Program in Survey and Data Science: Apply now (participation until February 2019 is tuition-free)

We are pleased to announce that the application process to join the 3rd cohort of the International Program in Survey and Data Science (IPSDS) is now open.

The International Program in Survey and Data Science is a joint program offered through the University of Mannheim and the Joint Program in Survey Methodology - a consortium of the University of Maryland, the University of Michigan, and Westat.

The IPSDS offers:

  • A multidisciplinary curriculum with a focus on survey methodology and data science that prepares you for the challenges of working with designed data from surveys and organic data (aka "found data" or "big data");
  • A flexible online learning environment that allows you to take courses from anywhere in the world;
  • Live interaction with world-class faculty from leading universities and organizations who will share their academic and practical experience with you.

The program is currently funded by a grant from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research as part of the initiative “Aufstieg durch Bildung: offene Hochschulen.” Due to the funding, participation in the program until February 2019 is tuition-free.

All relevant information about the admission process can be found at: http://survey-data-science.net/program/admission.

Please note that we will hold a live online Q&A-session on:

  • November 23, 2017 (19:00-20:00 CET)
  • January 11, 2018 (19:00-20:00 CET)

You can sign up for the Q&A by sending an email to ipsds@uni-mannheim.de.

 

September 29, 2017

IPSDS founder Frauke Kreuter receives Facebook Faculty Research Award for bringing survey methodology and data science together

While most data science programs focus their curricula on the areas of computer science and statistics, IPSDS takes it a step further. The program's curriculum adds to these key areas expertise in data collection and data quality. The international program is designed to educate data experts to draw insights from both designed data (collected via surveys) and organic data (aka “found data” or “big data”). Combining survey and big data is becoming a regular practice in leading organizations as well as research.

IPSDS' contribution to training leading data experts did not go unnoticed by Facebook. Each year Facebook acknowledges 40 top professors worldwide in disciplines that have particular relevance for Facebook. Frauke Kreuter - the project leader and faculty member - was awarded with the Facebook Faculty Research Award. As a company working with different data sources (last year Facebook surveyed 200 million people), Facebook recognizes the need of high-quality innovative approaches to train data experts.

See also Forum 2/2017, p. 62