The Houston Area Survey on Health, Education, and the Arts (SHEA)

Questions and Answers

1. What does SHEA stand for?

SHEA stands for the Survey of Health, Education, and the Arts. It is a research project to develop and complete a comprehensive assessment of the experiences, attitudes, and beliefs of Harris County residents with regard to central issues affecting the arts, education, and community health in the Houston area, and to host a national conference to explore the implications of the survey findings.

2. Who led this research project?

The SHEA study was developed by the Kinder Institute for Urban Research at Rice University. Professor Stephen L. Klineberg is the principal investigator of this research project. Ms. Jie Wu oversaw the research and took responsibility for the implementation of the details of the project.

3. Why was the geographic sampling area in Harris County?

We concentrated on Harris County, since almost 70 percent of everyone in this vast, ten-county, multi-centered metropolitan region (the model example of an "MCMR") still resides in Harris County.

4. Who were interviewed?

The surveys each have reached approximately 1,200 respondents in Harris County.  This enabled us to get a wide range of people in terms of age, ethnicity, income, and to be zero in the differences among the area residents. The survey were conducted in English and Spanish. The Survey Research Institute (SRI) at the University of Houston's Hobby Center for Public Policy administered the telephone interviews.

5. What does "back-translation" and "reconciliation of discrepancies" mean?

These methods were used to ensure that our English and Spanish versions of the surveys were comparable. It requires two bilingual translators: One translated the English version of the questionnaire into Spanish; while the other who had never seen the English version translated the Spanish version into English. Then we tried to figure out the discrepancies and find the right wording of the questions.

6. What was the weighting process?

Social Science Research Solutions (SSRS), a Philadelphia-based research firm, conducted the weighting process, using census data to correct for nonresponse and coverage biases in the sample and assigning weights to ensure that the final distributions are in close agreement with the actual Harris County distributions with respect to such variables as age, gender, race and ethnicity, education level, and home ownership. The weighted figures provide a more accurate and reliable reflection of the actual attitudes and experiences to be found within the Harris County population as a whole. The results presented in the reports used the weighted data.

7. Who funded this project?

The SHEA study was majorly funded by the Houston Endowment, Inc.

8. Whom shall I contact if I want more information regarding the SHEA study?

Click here to download the variable lists and the data request form. Please call 713-348-4132 for more information, or email us at