If you’ve downloaded enough data from the IPEDS Data Center using the “Compare Institutions” interface, you’ve probably realized that, depending on what you’re downloading, the data provided is rarely in a format ready for analysis. Here, via a specific example, I describe what makes the IPEDS data format impractical, and how to use R to resolve that.
Reading in the Data I first downloaded Fall 2012 to Fall 2018 distance education headcounts for every college and university in the IPEDS Data Center.
Introduction I first heard about R when I was in graduate school in 2008 and fellow students used it to analyze their data. I didn’t bother to learn it at the time because, one, I didn’t see the benefit of it, and two, I assumed that without any programming experience, it was too difficult. So I continued with my same workflow: Clean data and make charts in Excel, import data into SPSS to analyze it, and then paste my output into a Word document and write up the results.
The chief administrator job of a higher education institution is, as the title implies, the pinnacle of careers in academic administration. The chief administrator is a school’s spokesperson and guides its vision, affecting the lives of the thousands of students who pass through those institutions. And for the chief administrators who don’t care about the idealism of educating future generations, I would imagine the high-six/low-seven figure salaries that many earn is incentive enough.