Ana Lucía Córdova Cazar, a Ph.D. candidate in the College of Business Administration Survey Research and Methodology Program (SRAM) program at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, won a $400 travel grant for her poster presentation at the spring Graduate Research and Creative Activities Poster Session. The UNL Office of Research and Economic Development and Office of Graduate Studies presented the award.
Córdova Cazar’s poster, “An evaluation study of the use of paradata to enhance data quality in the American Time Use Survey,”presented core ideas of her dissertation work which she hopes to complete this summer. Her research specifically examines paradata – which looks at how data is collected.
“Paradata is part of the area known as big data,” Córdova Cazar said. “For example, if you are conducting a computer assisted phone interview and the question pertains to what you did in the last 24 hours, the computer will track details about how much time it took to answer a question, whether you changed an answer or had to go back to a previous question. We capture the complexity of the interview and interactions to see if it influences the quality of the data.”
Córdova Cazar, who previously earned her master’s degree in SRAM at UNL, believes it is important to use paradata to better inform public policy decision makers.
“I’m using the American Family Survey, a census conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, to study how Americans use their time,” she said. “Things that don’t take place in the marketplace, like child care and cleaning, are a big part of society but often happen within the household so are difficult to measure. When we collect better evidence of what is actually happening, it can contribute to better public policies.”
Working at the Census Bureau in Washington D.C. as part of an internship through SRAM, gives Córdova Cazar an inside look at data she otherwise would not have had.
“The opportunity to work at the Census Bureau has been amazing. I have been able to work with data that became part of my dissertation. It’s been a highlight of my SRAM academic program being at the cutting edge of academic research,” she said.
She will use her travel grant award to present both at a conference at the Census Bureau and at the American Association of Public Opinion Research in Austin, Texas.
Córdova Cazar is originally from Quito, Ecuador, and will continue to pursue an academic career after graduation.
“I plan to go back to Ecuador, continue my research and teach a new generation of young researchers in Latin America. I want to create something like SRAM has done here in my own country,” she said.