Deciding What Demographic Data to Include
Why Demographic Data Matters
Panorama’s platform uses demographic breakdowns that you provide so you can see how the perceptions of respondents in various groups differ. Understanding how your respondents’ perceptions differ by demographic group is extremely valuable when driving school improvement. ( Read how San Bernadino used demographic data to address disproportionate discipline here.)
Below is an image showing how Panorama reports display differences in perceptions across groups. In this example, you can see how teacher perceptions differ across survey topics from teachers of different grade levels. For example, Kindergarten and 1st grade teachers feel less favorably about Curriculum & Instruction and Design than the 2nd and 3rd grade teachers, while 3rd grade teachers may need the most additional supports across the board.
Seeing this demographic breakdown allows you to not only understand how different groups are experiencing school, but it allows you to tailor your initiatives and efforts toward those groups who may need additional support.
It is also important to note that, for confidentiality reasons, Panorama will never show the specific responses of a demographic group that contains fewer than 5 individuals. This group of responses would be rolled into the next smallest demographic group and show up on reports as "All Other," to protect the identities of those who responded to the survey.
How to Create Demographic Breakdowns in Reports
When setting up your surveys, there are three ways to include demographic information. You can mix and match these options to cover all of your demographic reporting needs.
Option 1: Import Demographics [Recommended]
- You'll notice that the sample templates Panorama provides include some of the most common demographic fields we see, such as race, gender, FRPL status, ELL status, and Special Education status.
- If you are interested in seeing additional demographic information in your reports, such as "Student Attendance," you can add a new column to your roster file that contains this information. When you upload this roster to your survey, you will need to map the new fields as "Other Demographic." In the student attendance example above, we would map this additional column would be as "Student Other Demographic."
- The benefit of this option is that the survey has fewer questions and takes less time to complete, since respondents don't need to respond to any demographic questions on their survey.
- For more ideas about ways to disaggregate the data meaningfully, explore these slides.
Option 2: Select the “Background Questions” Topic
- When you are creating your survey content, you can select the "Background Questions" topic to insert Panorama's pre-set demographic questions. These will appear on the surveys for respondents to self-report on various demographic categories, and this information will appear automatically on your reports as demographic breakdowns.
- This is a very useful option when you are running an anonymous survey, because otherwise you would not be able to collect any demographic data from your survey takers.
Option 3: Add Custom Demographic Questions
In addition to the "Background Questions" topic, you also have the option to add custom questions that ask respondents about their demographics. This can be particularly useful for unique areas where you would like your community to self-report their demographics. For example, Since the gender background question with Panorama only allows students to choose between Male and Female some partners add gender here to allow for varied gender identities
Learn how to add custom questions to your Panorama survey here, and once you're finished, please reach out to your Panorama contact or firstname.lastname@example.org so we can make sure the demographic breakdowns are set up correctly in your reports.
Some of the common custom demographic questions we've seen our partners use include:
- What after-school programs do you attend regularly?
- How many years have you been at the school/district?
- What language is spoken most at home?
- How many hours do you use technology at home?
Setting up the demographic information on the front end helps ensure that your reports have the important information you’d like to explore. If you would like to explore your data at a more granular level in your reports, we encourage you to include this additional information in your surveys.