Investigator Operational Tutorial

Investigator is our platform for accessing, browsing, and constructing variable sets for all of your desired studies using data from CNEF. While below you will find an operational tutorial to functionally walk you through the various tabs and menu selections present in the Investigator program, there are a few things you should be made aware of regarding the data and its usage. First of all, Investigator is split into two ‘halves’ with “CNEF” and “CNEF Data” corresponding to the portions of the program that allow you to browse the data and construct data sets, respectively. Additionally, due the fact that CNEF data is constructed from several different country’s data sets, in order to access the data for a specific country you must first obtain access to the data from that country. In order to properly obtain access to your desired country's data sets, please check out Partner Policies underneath the ‘Documentation’ tab.

Step 1

Log onto Investigator using the Username and Password that you established upon registering for the data.

You should have received an email with your username from

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Step 2

Upon logging in, you will be presented with a screen such as you see above. We will then choose to look at the 'Select a Study' tab. Make sure that this has the 'CNEF' option selected as this is how we will access the data set.

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Step 3

Next, we want to select a substudy, which is the way in which we can choose data sets from different specific countries to analyze.

If you would like to analyze data between two countries such as CH and UK, then you must select the 'All Countries' substudy and specify your chosen variables through there.

For this tutorial, we will choose 'All Countries.'

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    Step 4

    Another pair of features worth discussing here are the 'Saved Tagsets' and 'Upload Tagsets' sections. These are specifically for uploading sets of variables that you have chosen to save. We will discuss how you save these towards the end of this tutorial.

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    Step 5

    Moving onto the Variable Search tab, we will now select variables which we would like to study. Selection of variables using these three drop-down windows should be fairly self-sufficient, and thus will continue on with an example. I specifically want to search for the German results for question L1110.

    As can be seen from this image above, it is possible to stack multiple search criteria together. This is done by choosing the desired choices from the (Choose One) tab, and then 'adding' them to the search terms by using the Add button on the far right hand of the screen, as can be seen below.

    Note, as you do this, the number of variables which appear that fit this criterion of being from the German Study 'AND' question L1110 will show next to the Display Variables button. Further refinement of the searches can be done by changing the drop-down menu at the top of this image to 'OR' instead of 'AND'. As well, if a mistake is made in the defining of search criteria, the Remove button can be used to remove the search criteria. Assuming we made this mistake, let's choose Australia's L1110 data instead of Germany.

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    Step 6

    Looking at the abbreviated list of displayed variables from the intersection of AUS and L1110, we can then choose to keep these variables for review and/or view them in the codebook. In order to choose a variable to be kept, you can check the white box to the left of this screen. For this example, we will select L11102 for 2001 through 2003.

    You will note that once this box is check marked, the line of the chosen variable will turn a bright yellow color. Next, we will travel over to the 'Review Selected Variables' tab in order to view these variables that we have chosen.

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    Step 7

    Looking at the 'Review Selected Variables' tab, you'll swear that there are almost 320 more variables in this list then we had chosen in Step #6. Do not worry, this is perfectly normal. When viewing data from all countries, it is required that Unique Person Numbers from each country as well as all of Japan's data be included in the resulting variable list. If you chose a substudy under PSID, or US only data, the only selected variables that would be required to be attached are the Unique Person Numbers for the US.

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    Step 8

    Moving onto the 'Codebook' tab, you will find a page summary of all of the variables that are chosen in the 'Review Selected Variables' tab. These can potentially aid in your decision on whether or not this is the final data you would like to include in your study.

    You will also note two sets of buttons of useful functionality in the red box in the photo above. The blue arrows can be used to move forwards and backwards through all of the variables that are selected under the 'Review Selected Variables' tab. The yellow 'Stats as Graphs' buttons are potentially useful ways to demonstrate the data presented for this specific variable in this card and are auto generated to help users better interpret results.

    Based on your searches through the codebook as well as the variable selection process, if you are satisfied with the set of variables chosen, you can then move to the Save/Download tab.

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    Step 9

    Looking at the Save/Download set, we will be first prompted with the 'Save Tagset' tab which allows us to save the list of variables that we have constructed and either save them to the Investigator sever or to your PC directly. As well, you can select how you'd like to organize the tagset, either by variable number (Rnum) or by the Question Name and Country.

    Note, if chosen to save directly to your PC, the generated file will be in a .CNEF datafile format.

    If you choose to revisit a tagset/variable list that you have generated a file for in the future, it can be done form the 'Choose Tagsets' tab as is described in Step 2.

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