Practice Exercises

1. Using your library’s government documents collection or the U.S. Census site on the web, select one report by the U.S. Census Bureau about the population of the United States or some segment of it. Outline the report and list all the tables included in it. Summarize the report in two paragraphs.

2. Review the survey data sets available through ICPSR, using their Internet site ( Select two data sets that might be used to study a research question in which you are interested. Use the information ICPSR reports about them to answer the six questions in the “Challenges for Secondary Data Analyses” section of this chapter. Is the information adequate to answer these questions? What are the advantages and disadvantages of using one of these data sets to answer your research question compared with designing a new study?

3. Select a current topic and write a research question about this topic that could be answered with counts of words in books. Use the Google NGrams program described in this chapter to answer your question. Discuss the limitations of your approach, including the words you searched and the way in which you identified relationships.

4. Complete the Interactive Exercise for Chapter 14.