Data on a Shoestring: Surveying California s Women Veterans. Brian R. Sala, Ph.D. Acting Director California Research Bureau

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1 Data on a Shoestring: Surveying California s Women Veterans Brian R. Sala, Ph.D. Acting Director California Research Bureau

2 CRB is a division of the California State Library Created in 1992 Non-partisan public policy research and reference services for the Legislature, Governor's office, other constitutional officers and cabinet officers Studies in the News, seminar announcements Staff of 15: researchers, librarians, support

3 Recent examples of how CRB uses data and statistics: Fact sheet series on healthy aging: we draw from the California Health Interview Survey (CHIS) data to describe health and well-being of various groups of older Californians Fact sheet on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education and employment: we draw from American Community Survey Data Report on budgeting in State Parks: DOF and agency budgetary data Brief on the Target Area Contract Preference Act (TACPA) program: replication of data analysis drawn from 2000 Long Form Census data, simulations, and projections using recent ACS data

4 Data on a Shoestring: Surveying California s Women Veterans State agencies face challenges to understanding the properties of various key subpopulations limited resources for outreach and opinion polling hidden populations Women veterans are a population of special interest to the California Department of Veteran Affairs and the California Commission on the Status of Women and Girls. This presentation: an overview of the Women Veterans Survey, a biennial project of the California Research Bureau on behalf of Calvet and the Commission, focusing on low-cost strategies for building a representative convenience sample.

5 Survey Origins 2008: CRB was asked to gather information on women veterans in California. Challenges: US VA administers survey of veterans who seek services. ACS asks questions about military service status, but few questions regarding benefit utilization or needs. No budget. CRB is a central services agency. No list. CalVet lacked an extensive list of women vets. DOD and US VA unwilling to share. Survey instrument designed to elicit qualitative information about service experiences and post-service benefits and needs. 155 respondents. Convenience sample generated via informal seeding process. Heavy emphasis on open-ended questions.

6 History Commission holds hearings about needs of women veterans in CA 2007/2008 First survey about needs of women veterans conducted by CRB, 2009 CRB introduces Short Subjects about Women Veterans, 2012 CRB, Commission and CalVet launch 3 rd iteration, 2013 Commission asks CRB to complete survey about needs of women veterans, 2008/2009 CRB, Commission and CalVet repeat survey, 2011 First legislation based on survey research introduced in CA., 2012

7 The 2011 Survey Survey Monkey and hard-copy Promoted via CalVet and CSL websites, at CalVet Women Vet's Conference, outreach to federal, state and county providers of vet services, private vet organizations, etc. Not a proper snowball sampling technique. We do not identify relationships among respondents

8 Responses on the 2011 Survey 843 total respondents (150 hard copy)

9 Outputs from Previous Surveys Reports Preliminary (3/12) Full (5/12) Short Subjects 7 total Released between 8/12 and 1/13 Presentations Academic Conferences Stake-holder Meetings State-legislative Testimonies

10 Outcomes AB186 and AB258 written and looking pretty successful at this point Systematic data gathered on the needs of women veterans 20+ newspaper articles and blog reviews Raised awareness of state legislators CalVet has tied its strategic plan to benchmarks in the survey Became a tool of effective government

11 The 2013 Survey Mission statement The mission of the Survey is to document and track the status and experiences of California women who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces, and to use those research findings to inform policy discussions. Additionally, the Survey is a critical outreach tool to help connect women veterans to CalVet and other veteran services.

12 Survey Goals The goals of the 2013 survey are to identify and connect with California s women veteran population, gather information on the employment, housing, physical and mental health, and benefit-utilization of these women, use this information to support the broader policy discussion on how to provide the most effective and efficient services to the state s women veterans and benchmark and measure CalVet s outreach efforts to California s women veterans.

13 The 2013 Survey Sample Opt-in/convenience samples 1,040 respondents Recruitment: broad seeding Commission, CalVet, CSL, and legislator websites lists and social media outreach Public events Radio interviews Postage-paid return envelopes

14 2013 Survey Preliminary Results

15 Benefits

16 Childcare challenges

17 Reasons for not utilizing VA healthcare

18 Homelessness and Housing Instability

19 Military Sexual Trauma

20 Future Directions Respondent pool fatigue? Other seeding strategies? US VA cooperation to establish a list and efforts to endow the survey

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