The Problem with the Delta Cost Project Database

Ozan - Jaquette, Edna Parra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The Integrated Postsecondary Education System (IPEDS) collects data on Title IV institutions. The Delta Cost Project (DCP) integrated data from multiple IPEDS survey components into a public-use longitudinal dataset. The DCP Database was the basis for dozens of journal articles and a series of influential policy reports. Unfortunately, a flaw in the construction of the DCP Database may make it inappropriate for particular analyses. Specifically, the DCP Database often collapsed data from state systems, which consist of multiple Title IV institutions, into a single observation. For example, the University of Texas-Austin observation contained data from all Title IV Institutions in the UT system (e.g. UT-Dallas, UT-Brownsville). This research note investigates how many institutions were affected by this problem, identifies the extent to which published research used the DCP Database in potentially inappropriate ways, and conducts selected analyses to understand whether the problem can affect empirical results. Results show that the problem was concentrated in the public sector but only affected a small proportion of public institutions. However, analyses suggested that this problem can substantively affect empirical results. Therefore, we argue that the DCP Database should not be used to analyze public institutions. We conclude by discussing the creation of alternative databases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-22
Number of pages22
JournalResearch in Higher Education
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Feb 17 2016

Fingerprint

costs
public institution
education system
public sector

Keywords

  • Data
  • Higher education policy
  • Longitudinal analyses
  • Organizational behavior
  • Public universities

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education

Cite this

The Problem with the Delta Cost Project Database. / Jaquette, Ozan -; Parra, Edna.

In: Research in Higher Education, 17.02.2016, p. 1-22.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{56bf74ff76e34ab5bc0151a62c9ea3d0,
title = "The Problem with the Delta Cost Project Database",
abstract = "The Integrated Postsecondary Education System (IPEDS) collects data on Title IV institutions. The Delta Cost Project (DCP) integrated data from multiple IPEDS survey components into a public-use longitudinal dataset. The DCP Database was the basis for dozens of journal articles and a series of influential policy reports. Unfortunately, a flaw in the construction of the DCP Database may make it inappropriate for particular analyses. Specifically, the DCP Database often collapsed data from state systems, which consist of multiple Title IV institutions, into a single observation. For example, the University of Texas-Austin observation contained data from all Title IV Institutions in the UT system (e.g. UT-Dallas, UT-Brownsville). This research note investigates how many institutions were affected by this problem, identifies the extent to which published research used the DCP Database in potentially inappropriate ways, and conducts selected analyses to understand whether the problem can affect empirical results. Results show that the problem was concentrated in the public sector but only affected a small proportion of public institutions. However, analyses suggested that this problem can substantively affect empirical results. Therefore, we argue that the DCP Database should not be used to analyze public institutions. We conclude by discussing the creation of alternative databases.",
keywords = "Data, Higher education policy, Longitudinal analyses, Organizational behavior, Public universities",
author = "Jaquette, {Ozan -} and Edna Parra",
year = "2016",
month = "2",
day = "17",
doi = "10.1007/s11162-015-9399-2",
language = "English (US)",
pages = "1--22",
journal = "Research in Higher Education",
issn = "0361-0365",
publisher = "Springer Netherlands",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - The Problem with the Delta Cost Project Database

AU - Jaquette, Ozan -

AU - Parra, Edna

PY - 2016/2/17

Y1 - 2016/2/17

N2 - The Integrated Postsecondary Education System (IPEDS) collects data on Title IV institutions. The Delta Cost Project (DCP) integrated data from multiple IPEDS survey components into a public-use longitudinal dataset. The DCP Database was the basis for dozens of journal articles and a series of influential policy reports. Unfortunately, a flaw in the construction of the DCP Database may make it inappropriate for particular analyses. Specifically, the DCP Database often collapsed data from state systems, which consist of multiple Title IV institutions, into a single observation. For example, the University of Texas-Austin observation contained data from all Title IV Institutions in the UT system (e.g. UT-Dallas, UT-Brownsville). This research note investigates how many institutions were affected by this problem, identifies the extent to which published research used the DCP Database in potentially inappropriate ways, and conducts selected analyses to understand whether the problem can affect empirical results. Results show that the problem was concentrated in the public sector but only affected a small proportion of public institutions. However, analyses suggested that this problem can substantively affect empirical results. Therefore, we argue that the DCP Database should not be used to analyze public institutions. We conclude by discussing the creation of alternative databases.

AB - The Integrated Postsecondary Education System (IPEDS) collects data on Title IV institutions. The Delta Cost Project (DCP) integrated data from multiple IPEDS survey components into a public-use longitudinal dataset. The DCP Database was the basis for dozens of journal articles and a series of influential policy reports. Unfortunately, a flaw in the construction of the DCP Database may make it inappropriate for particular analyses. Specifically, the DCP Database often collapsed data from state systems, which consist of multiple Title IV institutions, into a single observation. For example, the University of Texas-Austin observation contained data from all Title IV Institutions in the UT system (e.g. UT-Dallas, UT-Brownsville). This research note investigates how many institutions were affected by this problem, identifies the extent to which published research used the DCP Database in potentially inappropriate ways, and conducts selected analyses to understand whether the problem can affect empirical results. Results show that the problem was concentrated in the public sector but only affected a small proportion of public institutions. However, analyses suggested that this problem can substantively affect empirical results. Therefore, we argue that the DCP Database should not be used to analyze public institutions. We conclude by discussing the creation of alternative databases.

KW - Data

KW - Higher education policy

KW - Longitudinal analyses

KW - Organizational behavior

KW - Public universities

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84958748552&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84958748552&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1007/s11162-015-9399-2

DO - 10.1007/s11162-015-9399-2

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:84958748552

SP - 1

EP - 22

JO - Research in Higher Education

JF - Research in Higher Education

SN - 0361-0365

ER -