Step 2: Select a Geographic Area to Study or Analyze

Before you can collect any data, the geographic area in which you are interested must be defined. This area will oftentimes appear within the context of your research question. Data, for community research purposes, is most commonly available at the following geographic areas (increasing in size from smallest to largest):

Individual Property
Small Group of Properties - known as a "Block"
Block Group or Census Tract
Neighborhood or Statistical Planning Area (SPA) - there are 36 in Cleveland
Ward - there are 21 in Cleveland

Lastly, you may need to change the geographic scale of the data based upon the type of data that you need is available. Much data may not be available at smaller scales, because collecting such data would be difficult and tedious. Note that for reasons of confidentiality, some types of data will not be available at certain geographic levels. For example, the US Census Bureau will not disclose the individual income of a household. How to determine which neighborhood data sources possess which types of data in what geographic areas will be discussed in Step 4 entitled "Find Sources for Data."

Proceed to Step 3 ->