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Percept SmartReports
SmartReports are PERCEPT’S unique style of presenting demographic and ethographic information using text bolding, special symbols and extensive comparison data.
Significance Pointers
To help you in studying the report,
variables which have a high index (above 110) are shown in bold type with a special up arrow symbol to call your attention to the line. Variables which have a low index (below 90) are shown with a small down arrow at the beginning of the line.
Thematic Structure
All PERCEPT reports
are grouped around themes. Data can
overwhelm without an adequate context. These themes are designed to provide that context. For example, one theme is “Marital Status.” Under this heading, you will find three sub-themes: the marital status of all persons 15 years of age and older, the marital status of single females 15 years of age and older and the marital status of males 15 years of age and older.
Additionally, these themes are important for looking up the definition of either the theme or its sub-theme. A glossary follows this section. It provides technical definitions for each of them and their sub-themes. The glossary is alphabetized by theme. Sub-themes fall under their appropriate theme.
Comparative Indices
What is being compared?
If you are not used to encountering an
index, these can be confusing. The most important thing to understand is that this number reflects a comparison of two groups. You will also notice that prior to the index column are two others. The first represents the study area being considered. The second represents the national average. The Comparative Index is a way of comparing these two numbers.
How are Comparative Indices calculated?
An index of 100 in this column indicates that your area is estimated to be approximately the same as the national average. A value of 150 would indicate that your area is estimated to be 1.5 times the national average. A value of 50 would indicate that your area is estimated to be only one-half (.5) of the national average. The index is computed by dividing the value for your area by the U.S. Average and multiplying the result by 100. For example, if your area is 10% and the national average is 5%, divide 10 by 5, which results in 2. Then multiply 2 by 100 and you have the index of 200.
Why is a comparison important?
For meaningful perceptions to form, we need a context. It is by comparing one situation to another that the significance of a particular piece of information emerges. For example, suppose your study area indicates that 38% of the adults over 15 are single and have never been married. How is one to think about that? We need to compare it to something. Therefore, PERCEPT also provides the national average. In this case, the national average is 26.9%. Single, never married is well above the national average. How much? Well the Comparative Index is 140 which means this study area is 140% or 1.4 times the national average for persons of this marital status.
Comparative indices are not the whole story. The actual percentages are equally, if not more important. However, they provide an orientation by allowing you to see how a study area’s profile compares to the national profile.
Ethos Indicators
What are Ethos Indicators?
Information derived
from PERCEPT’S Ethos Survey Series is reported as an Indicator.
We use the word indicator to mean a group of variables which taken together provide an indication of the likely tendencies of a particular group of people regarding some particular issue or behavior. For example, the Primary Concerns Indicator within an area profile is a series of 29 issues in which the values for each of the concerns vary from community to community. When viewed as a whole, the likely concerns of any particular area are often clumped around various themes. In some communities, the likely prevailing concerns will consist of things like finding adequate housing and food. In other areas, they may group around hopes and dreams for the future. It is important to understand the purpose of the indicators is to create overall impressions. When you analyze the Faith Involvement Indicator, for instance, you should note that it actually consists of five different variables:
Strongly Involved with Their Faith
Somewhat Involved with Their Faith
Not Involved with Their Faith
Increased Their Involvement with Their Faith
in the Last 10 Years
Decreased Their Involvement with Their Faith
in the Last 10 Years
The real value of the indicator is in looking at these five variables and their possible relationships together as a whole, not as five separate and independent variables.
Also, some of the most powerful impressions in the Ethos report come from comparing the different indicators with each other. For example, how do the likely religious affiliation preferences compare with the primary concerns? How might the faith involvement levels relate to the household contributions?
How is the Comparative Index for Ethos calculated?
Ethos indices are calculated in exactly the same manner as all other Comparative Indices. The study area is divided by the national Ethos profile.
How is the study area percentage calculated?
The study area percentage is computed by first multiplying the individual U.S. Lifestyles segment average for a particular variable times the number of households in that segment within the study area. This is repeated for each segment in the area which results in a total number of households likely to be represented by that variable. This number is then divided by the total number of households in the area to calculate the percentage. For example, if the variable to be computed is No Faith Involvement, the calculation starts with segment 1 in which 37.4% of the households claim no faith involvement. If there are 100 households in the study area from segment 1, approximately 37 of them would be estimated to be likely to express no faith involvement. This calculation is repeated for segments 2 through 50 while keeping a running total of the number of households likely to have no faith involvement. In the example, if that number ended up being 2,000 households and the total number of households in the study area was 5,000, then the No Faith Involvement estimate would be 40%.
How should one study a SmartReport?
As you analyze values on any PERCEPT report that includes a Comparative Index it is important to watch for two situations. The first is a high or low index for some particular variable. This does not mean you should ignore those items which have an average index (near 100). However, as you seek to capture the demographic and ethographic essence of a study area, it will probably be those items which vary significantly from the national average that will provide the most insight. Secondly, as you are looking for high and low index variables, you should also observe the estimated percentages.
As an example, the likely Eastern Religions preference index for a particular study area might be 357. This would mean that the area is likely to have three and a half times the national average for this particular preference. However, the actual percentage of households estimated to have this preference might only be 1.8 percent. The reason the index is so high is because the national average for this preference is a tiny .5 percent. Since you have a high index and a low percentage, you should note that you have an unusually high likelihood to have persons with an Eastern religious preference, but that this group is still a fairly small percentage of the total households in your community.
Conversely, you might find that your area has an index of only 50 for the Catholic/Orthodox preference. However, because the national average for this preference is almost 22.6 percent, even a low index of 50 would mean that at least 11% of the households in your area are likely to have this preference. You might conclude that your area is not dominated by folks with a Catholic/Orthodox preference, but these households still have a significant presence.
We recommend that the first time you review your reports, you simply scan for the bold items and the lines preceded with a down arrow. Watch how these variables are grouped. Don’t rush into line by line analysis too quickly until you have allowed yourself the opportunity to absorb the larger impression this report can create. We believe that the “big picture” impression you receive from the entire report may be just as valuable as the insights that come from line by line analysis.
InfoMaps
An InfoMap is a full
color thematic map that portrays selected variables for a study area. InfoMaps are easy to understand since they are designed to look similar to everyday road maps. They provide a visual means of communicating demographic information. It is not unusual for you to make an important discovery from your profile and realize that an additional InfoMap highlighting and clarifying your discovery would be helpful. Many times the reports will describe a demographic characteristic of interest such as a large percentage of children within a 5-mile radius of the church. However, the reports do not specify where within the 5-mile radius the concentrations of children are located. A color InfoMap showing children by block group quickly clarifies where they are located and in what proportions.
InfoGraphs
InfoMaps are one 
form of graphic
data presentation. They are organized around geography. Additionally, PERCEPT presents critical information as statistical graphs. These graphs translate data into pictures. These pictures often make it easier to grasp the essential learning from a data set.
Some InfoGraphs simply chart data on a particular study area. A racial/ethnic pie chart illustrates quickly the particular distribution of racial/ethnic groups within a study area. However, some InfoGraphs are specifically designed to provide a comparison between a study area and the national average. These InfoGraphs provide in chart form essentially what Comparative Indices do on a report.
PERCEPT has developed a special InfoGraph page called FingerPrint. FingerPrint always compares specific variables within a study area to the national average on those same variables. As such it provides a “finger print” of a community.
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