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Research Data Center LogoRDC Frequently Asked Questions

Here is some useful information about working with the NCHS RDC, in a convenient question and answer format.

Research proposal review


On Site procedures

Use of Electronic devices

Lunch and restaurants


Remote procedures

Directions and Parking for NCHS

Research Proposal Review

Q. How long is the review process?

A. The estimated time to review your proposal is 6-8 weeks.

Q. If I make a change to my proposal, do I need to submit a new proposal?

A. This depends on what type of change is made. Please discuss the changes with your assigned RDC staff member. We recommend that you turn on the "track changes" feature when revising your proposal so that we can focus on the updates. Note that modifying or adding to an existing dataset may result in additional charges.


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Q. How much does it cost to merge my file?

A. A base of $500 per day of effort, more if you request more cycles of data.

Q. Is there a discount, or will you waive fees for students?

A. No. However, your advisor may be able to assist you with applying for research grants for your project.


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On site procedures

Q. After my proposal has been accepted, what do I do next?

A. Complete any required paperwork and prepare the dataset with the public use variables you have selected.

Q. Can I prepare my SAS dataset in the RDC?

A. No. You must provide the public use variables from any NCHS dataset, and any other external information you wish to use in your analysis, to your RDC staff contact person who will do the merge with the confidential variables in advance of your visit. This allows us to maintain security and assure that your dataset is ready for you when you visit.

Q. How do I get my output?

A. During analysis, you can save your results on the hard drive of the computer. Bring a flash drive, and, after disclosure review, we will load all of your output onto it at the end of your visit. We can also email the output files to you if you prefer.

Q. Can I request special analysis software to use onsite?

A. Yes. Please let us know in advance of your visit.

Q. What kind of help can the RDC provide for computer programming?

A. It is expected that you will know the basics of the analyses you wish to carry out. SUDAAN & SAS software manuals are available. RDC staff are available for limited consultation. If you require extensive custom programming, that will need to be discussed in advance.

Q. What software is available onsite?

A. SAS, SUDAAN, Stata, SPSS, HLM, and R. Analytic software is not limited to these packages, they are provided as frequently used examples. Contact us if there is another package you need.

Q. What software is available remotely through ANDRE?

A. SAS, and SAS callable SUDAAN.


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Use of electronic devices within the RDC

Q. Can I use my laptop in the RDC?

A. No.

Q. Can I use my cell phone within the RDC?

 A. No.

Q. Can I check my email within the RDC?

A. No. There are coffee shops with wireless Internet nearby.

Q. Is wireless Internet available elsewhere within the NCHS building?

A. No.

Q. Will I have any access to the Internet inside of the RDC?

A. No.

Q. Can I download software from the Internet within the RDC?

A. No. But, you can bring in SAS or Stata programs that you have written in advance.


Q. Can I use remote access to the RDC if I find I need to run additional analyses after I have left?

A. Yes. See the Remote Procedures section.


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Lunch and nearby restaurants

Q. Where can I go for lunch?

A. The Amet Café, in the Metro III building across the street from NCHS, is the closest place for a quick breakfast or lunch.


The Prince Georges Plaza Mall, around the corner on East-West Highway (Route 410), has a varied food court, and several stand-alone restaurants in the parking lot.


The NCHS building, Metro IV, is located within the University Town Center, which is undergoing extensive renewal. New restaurants are opening on a weekly basis on our block of America Boulevard. They include: Three Brothers Italian Restaurant, Qdoba Mexican Grill, Five Guys sandwich shop, Smoothie King and several new restaurants.


There is also a small shopping center on the same side of East West Highway as the Prince Georges Plaza Metro stop, that has a Starbucks, a Quiznos, a Chinese restaurant, and a few other convenience stores, where you can get lunch.


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Q.  What are some nearby hotels?

A.  The Marriott Inn and Conference Center in Adelphi, Maryland, and the Quality Inn and Suites, in College Park, Maryland. The Marriott is located on northwest edge of the University of Maryland campus, and is an easy 15 minute walk to NCHS.


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Remote procedures

Q. How do I send in my programs?

A. You will receive detailed instructions when you are registered for ANDRE. You will send your program by email and, after disclosure review, will receive your output files by email.

Q. Can I use a free, web mail account (such as AOL, GMail, HotMail, or Yahoo) to access ANDRE?

A. No. You must use a secure email system through a government, university, medical or research institution portal.

Q. Can more than one person use the same ANDRE account, for instance, me and my programmer?

A. No. For security reasons, ANDRE is set up to handle only one user per project. You will want to think carefully about who that person should be. The results will be sent to only one, secure, designated email address, registered with the ANDRE user database.

Q. Can I create a permanent combined dataset through ANDRE?

A. No. While you may create temporary files for use during a program run, writing a permanent dataset to the hard drive is prohibited by our agreement with you, as is any output revealing individual level data from such a file.

Q. I wish to use SPSS but live too far away and don't have the time to travel to the NCHS RDC. What are my alternatives?

A. We encourage all clients to visit and work in the RDC in person before submitting programs remotely. If you can't get here, perhaps you can send a programmer or someone else to act for you. Or, you can register with a local Census Bureau RDC and run your analyses there. The nine Census Bureau RDCs are located in Boston, MA; Berkeley, CA; Los Angeles, CA; Washington, DC; Chicago, IL; Ann Arbor, MI; New York, NY; Ithaca, NY; and Durham, NC.


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Directions and Parking for NCHS, Hyattsville, Maryland

Q. Where is the NCHS headquarters located?

A. Our offices are at the edge of the Prince Georges Plaza complex in Hyattsville, Maryland. The address is:

National Center for Health Statistics

Metro IV Building

3311 Toledo Road

Hyattsville, Maryland 20708

Q. Where can I find driving directions?


Q. Is there parking at the NCHS, Hyattsville building?

A. Yes. Visitors can park in the parking garage next to the Metro IV Building. Use the visitor's entrance on Toledo Road. There is a maximum charge of  $7.00 per day.


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Page Last Modified: December 24, 2008




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