ERIC Number: ED174105
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1979-May
The Unreliability of Data in the California Community College System. AIR Forum 1979 Paper.
Turner, John D.; Booth, Mary W.
A chronicle of the problems faced in an attempt to collect data on sociology curriculum trends in California's community college system is presented. The project was initiated in an effort to determine if other colleges in the system were experiencing the same difficulties with curriculum and enrollment in sociology courses being encountered by Grossmont College in California. Of the 104 questionnaires sent out to the Deans of Instruction at the existing California community colleges, 84 were completed and returned. Much variety was found in how the data were gathered, and there were difficulties in retrieving other data that were gathered. Often data were unanalyzed or duplicated because of lack of knowledge of what was already stored in the computer. Although college catalogs are the only uniform sources of information available to the public about the curricula at any given college, they were poor sources of accurate information about courses offered. Data published on the system by state and federal agencies were often inaccurate. Several tentative solutions are proposed--such as standards for catalog writing or a centralized data bank--based on the concept that most institutional research is highly unreliable because the data upon which it is based are unreliable. (SC)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A