Publications Revealed Newsletter
August 2012
JData Revealed


Census vs. Survey
Shared Data: JData's Challenge and Strength

2012-13 Profile forms will be available on September 4.

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Note from the Director  

The JData team is often asked questions about JData. These generally arise from a mix of curiosity and confusion about what JData is, how it works, and what it is good for. We have struggled to come up with the JData "elevator pitch," but the system's novelty and complexity defy simplistic explanation.


This newsletter is the first of three that explore fundamental aspects of the data and analyses that JData provides you. The goals are to clarify misconceptions and invite your participation in using the system in support of Jewish education. We begin this month with the notion that JData is a census, not a survey.


JData is based on the idea that building a high-quality Jewish education system requires comprehensive information. Until now, the field's "siloed" and decentralized nature has precluded the creation of a national information system, a "census" of Jewish education. In this regard, JData is a revolution. It is a collective information system that allows every educational organization to enter its data and all users to draw out the information that they need (while still maintaining the confidentiality of the data).


As camps wind down for the season and schools prepare to open, the JData team and our national and community partners are preparing for 2012-13 data collection. We anticipate high growth this year and look forward to your active participation.


Amy L. Sales, Ph.D.


Project Director
Senior Research Scientist
Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies

JData Revealed: Census vs. Survey 

JData is a census rather than a survey. This is an important distinction. A census is designed to include data from the total population. A survey is based on a sample (that may or may not be representative of the total population). In the case of JData, the population is all organizations providing Jewish education to children and youth in the United States.


Why you should care. Knowing the total population and its characteristics enables you to judge the quality of any survey research by assessing whether it represents well the full population or is biased in a particular direction. It may also enable you to weight (statistically adjust) survey results. Read more...


JData Revealed:
Shared Data-JData's Challenge and Strength 

One of the revolutionary aspects of JData is the openness and availability of the data to all users. As we like to say, "Everyone gets to put data in and everyone gets to draw data out." This is both JData's great challenge and its great strength. Read more...

JData is operated by Brandeis University with generous support from the Jim Joseph Foundation 

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