Dr. Paul Reiter is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Cancer Prevention and Control at The Ohio State University. His research addresses cancer prevention and control through two main thematic areas, cancer screening and vaccination. He is particularly interested in examining the determinants of engaging in these behaviors and designing programs to increase their use.
A great deal of my research during recent years has focused on HPV vaccination behaviors. With this in mind, our research team wanted to examine HPV vaccination within the Appalachian region using data from the National Immunization Survey-Teen (NIS-Teen) datasets. Because this research question had a geographical component to it, we needed to access restricted data through the Research Data Center (RDC). We explored our options for accessing these data and opted for remote access through the ANDRE system.
In preparation for using ANDRE, we prepared the public use datasets for analyses and sent them to our RDC analyst. Our RDC analyst then merged in the needed restricted data and made the merged dataset available for analyses through ANDRE. Through simple descriptive statistics, we were assured that the datasets had been merged correctly. To generate these descriptive statistics and run more sophisticated analyses, we simply had to submit analytic syntax to ANDRE through an FTP. We would then receive the corresponding output in an email within minutes of submission. The speed and ease of this process helped alleviate any concerns we had about conducting analyses through remote access. ANDRE provided a highly efficient process that allowed us to complete our analyses in a brief period of time.
Overall, we had an extremely positive experience with the RDC and ANDRE. There were a few minor issues with ANDRE that required attention initially, but our RDC analyst and other staff helped resolve these issues. This helped ensure that we were able to successfully complete our project in a timely manner.
The RDC remote access system, affectionately known as ANDRE, is a convenient access option for users who are not close to an RDC facility. Others may find it more appealing and/or cost effective to work on site at an NCHS or Census RDC. For example, researchers belonging to certain institutions may be charged reduced or no access fees when using a Census RDC. Sometimes an analytical plan dictates the mode of access as certain procedures or statistical packages may only be available for a specific mode of access. Therefore, you should really consider the mode of access while writing your analytical plan. It doesn’t seem like much but could save you time and money.
Weigh in: Are thinking about using the RDC? What modes of access are you considering and why? Are you currently using the RDC? Why did you choose your mode of access?