Frequently Asked Questions of the MXFLS Support Team
Why can’t I download the survey data on to my computer?
First, in order to gain access to public information from the page, you need to register as a user of this survey. Secondly, due to a number of windows pop-ups enabled during the process of downloading files, you must disable the option of blocking window pop-ups. The detailed process for downloading information is as follows:
Click the name of the file you wish to download from the appropriate table.
Fill out the information requested for the registration of users.
On the screen, a page will appear with information on how to cite the survey and the programs needed to be able to work with data and documents from MXFLS. At the end of the page there is a link whereby clicking it, the process of downloading files begins.
A new blank window will appear and immediately afterwards, a dialog box will also appear where you can choose whether you want to save the file on to your computer or just open it. The process of downloading files begins at this moment.
At the end of the download, the survey page reappears on the screen in the table where you downloaded the previous file from. Now you can download as many files as you wish without having to register again.
It may be that this downloading process may be interrupted or that the download is not allowed. This could be due to an overload of site users at that specific time, so we ask that you try again later.
Why is it that once I have downloaded the files, I can not decompress or read them?
You need the appropriate version of the program in order to decompress and read information:
To decompress the data, you need the WinZip program with a minimum 9.0 version, which can be downloaded at http://www.winzip.com/downwz.htm
To read the manual coding archives and questionnaires, Adobe Acrobat is required with a minimum version of 5.0. This can be obtained at: http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readstep.html
The format for the database is STATA 8.0. Without this program or version, it is still possible to convert databases in a different format using the StatTransfer, which can be downloaded at http://www.data-transfer-software.com/html/downloads.html
What is the relationship between information reported in the Log Book and other books at the individual level (3rd, 3B, 4, 5)? In some cases the questions are the same; in these cases, what book should I go by?
This is a decision that the researcher should take depending on the purpose of the study. In particular, with regards to the equivalent questions in various books with different information, it should be emphasized that the values reported from the Household Books (as in Book C, 1 and 2) are provided by a single person, while the information presented in the databases at the individual level (Books 3A, 3B, 4 and 5) are reported individually by each family member. For more information, consult the user's guide.
What is the difference between the values reported in Books 3A, 3B and 4 and the Proxy Book?
The Proxy book was designed to gather information from those household members who were not physically present to answer the questionnaire themselves. Thus, the information contained in the Proxy book was reported by another household member. For more information, consult the user's guide.
The Log book contains information on income, work and education whose values or number-of-comments are not always consistent with those reported in the individual books. Why is there this apparent inconsistency?
The information contained in the Log book is information given by one household member (the informant) about the rest of the household members, which is not as accurate as the individual information provided by each household member (Book 3A , Book 3B, Book 4 and Book 5). In addition to the Log book and Individual book information, there is also Proxy book information, which was collected when the respondent was absent, or was not available at the time of the interview.
The number of observations between the C book sections, and the 3A book, do not necessarily have to coincide for two reasons:
Book 3A is only answered by household members who are 15 years old or older.
For example, to identify the salary earned from adult household members, the best option is to base an analysis on information from the iiia_tb section (3A book), and integrate it with information from salaries of minors at home (section v_emn, book 5). In the case of missing values, these can be obtained from the Log book (section c_ls), or Proxy book, to supplement information. For more information, consult the user's guide.
Where can I get the database information of individual and household weight?
The set of files containing the sample weights of individuals and households are not in the same section as in the rest of the database variables. In the menu page you need to click on the Datos y Documentación section and then go to the subsection: Ponderadores. Here you will find a general description of its structue and use. At the end, there is a table where you can download files in the database with the corresponding weight of individual and household levels (except for the Proxy book, whose weight could not be sampled for obvious reasons). A more detailed description on how weight samples were used in various types of analytical studies is found in the User's Guide and is also available on the website.
Why is the Health book questionnaire not public?
There is no official health questionnaire for the Health book, as the Health book only records anthropometric measures of household members. In this case, to work with the information form this book it is best to review the database with a copy of the codification manual at hand. For more information, consult the user's guide.
How is the “folio”, which identifies each household in the survey, built?
The folio consists of 8 digits. Those folios composed of less than 8 digits are folios that implicitly have zeros ('0') to the left of the number (as many '0'’s as needed to complete the 8 spaces). The folio is made up as follows: the first 5 digits correspond to a consecutive number. The sixth digit identifies the type of home (Main- 0 or additional- from 1 to 9). The seventh and eighth digits are always 00.
The folio variable is a unique identifier for homes; there is no need to counter cross with any other variables in order to identify the homes between different books. For more information, consult the user's guide.
How do you interpret the variable ls/ls00 as an individual identifier? Does this variable have a relationship with the kinship of household members?
Both section c_ls of the C book and the s_sa for book S, contain an ls00 variable, which is identical to the ls variable. In such cases, it does not matter if you use one or the other.
In the C book questionnaire, section c_ls, members of the household are given a line-row number (variable ls) starting with the head of household, which always has an “ls = 1”, the “ls” of other household members depend on the order in which they were recorded. The variable 'ls' does not serve the purpose of identifying the relationship that exists between the various members of the household. However, variables ls05, ls06 and ls07 can make-up other known family ties. For more information, consult the user's guide.
In the educational section, how is a grade level recorded in cases where the individual interviewed differs in regards to semester or quarter systems?
The respondent’s grade level is recorded in years of schooling ls15_1 variables (Book C) and ed07_1 (Book 3A). One year equals 2 semesters, 3 four-month sessions (cuatrimestres), 4 quarters, and so on.
How is a specific home location identified as an urban or rural area?
To do this, it is necessary to analyze the variable called estrato contained in Book C. The values that make up this variable are:
estrato = 1 for homes located in localities with more than 100,000 inhabitants.
estrato = 2 for homes located in towns with populations between 15,000 and 100,000.
estrato = 3 for homes located in towns with a population between 2,500 and 15,000.
estrato = 4 for homes located in areas with less than 2,500 inhabitants
How can I access the dates of when the home visit and interview took place?
The dates of when the survey was conducted can be found in the Log book, conpor section. The variables are: day and month. However, when using this database the user has to take into account that in this section, there is NOT an observational comment per folio, but per visit. We recommend that you keep this in mind. The variables are coded from 01 months to 12, which correspond to 01 in January, 02 in February, and so on.
For poverty calculations, what are the important variables to include in a construction of income and expense at a household and individual level?
A list of relevant variables and some other considerations can be found in Appendix "f" within the Users Guide.
What is the purpose of the “secuencia” variable in some of the databases of MXFLS? What does it do?
The variable “secuencia” is the variable that tells the order of events. When a sequence takes the value “1”, it refers to the event noted in the first column of the questionnaire. Value “2” refers to the second event listed, and so on. For example: section iiib_ce1 sequence = 1 refers to the last visit paid to the respondent, while sequence = 2 refers to the next-to-last visit. Other similar examples can be reviewed in the Users Guide.
Are the codes for municipalities (towns) and localities (villages) the same as those used in INEGI?
The codes to identify state and municipalities are the same used by the INEGI. However, due to reasons of confidentially the locality does not correspond to the INEGI codes, but to a code established by the MXFLS team. Additionally, and because of this reason, variable responses of towns and villages as well as certain questions (relating to migration or place of birth, etc.) are not made public.
The survey represents the regional level and refers to 5 regions in the country, how do I identify these regions?
In the database there is no regional variable. But it can be constructed from the edo (state) variable. The states that make up the region are as follows:
Center-Northeast Region: Entities 5, 10 and 19.
Central Region-West: Entities 11, 14 and 16.
Central Country Region: Entities 9, 15, 17, 21.
Northwest Region: Entities 3, 25, 26.
South-Southeast Region: Entities 20, 30, 31.
Is it possible to have access to a variable that identifies the Primary Sampling Units (UPM)?
No. Given the confidentiality rules that MXFLS must continue to comply with, the security standards established prior to conducting the survey regarding the informants’ location, municipality, city and UPM could not be public domain.
In the MXFLS questionnaires, there are some questions that are not in the database or in the corresponding manual coding book. Why is this?
There are a series of questions which were not made public for reasons of confidentiality. This list of questions can be found in an appendix at the end of the Users Guide.
Are there any articles or studies which include the MXFLS study and which are readily available?
This section is in the website. To enhance this section, we welcome your cooperation by sharing any study that you, or your colleagues, have conducted using MXFLS. Any work can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
How is the sampling pattern determined for MXFLS?
A document is provided by INEGI, detailing the features of the survey sampling scheme, is be available in the web.
How are the results of the cognitive ability books EA and EN, interpreted?
The responses to Cognitive Ability questionnaires can be interpreted according to a scale of 0 to 100, where individuals who had no correct responses are coded with a “0”, while individuals with full success are coded with a “100”.
However, for a more detail description on the subject of individual cognitive levels, you can consult the following literature:
Raven J.C., Court J.H and J. Raven (1993), Test de Matrices Progresivas. Escalas Coloreada, General y Avanzada, Paidos Iberica Eds. ISBN: 9501260607. For more information, consult the user's guide
Is there a scale to evaluate the emotional level with information collected in the MPA (mood) section of book 3B?
The mood section was taken directly from a mental health questionnaire designed and tested by researchers of the Mexican Institute of Psychiatry, to diagnose depressive syndrome among the Mexican population. For more details, see the following reference:
Calderon G.N (1997) "Un Cuestionario para Simplicar el Diagnóstico del Síndrome Depresivo" Revista de Neuro-Psiquiatría, 60:127-135.
Some authors who have exploited data on moods and emotions have used this scale of questions in a semi parametric way and with categorical variables. However, Calderon (1997) presents a criterion measure that might be useful:
The questionnaire consists of 21 questions. Quantification of depressive syndrome is based on the first 20 questions only, and can be answered in the negative form (No) or the positive form, where three possibilities are accepted (sometimes, many times, all the time). The measures are given a value of 1 for the negative response (No), and a value of 2 to 4 for the positive responses, according to a progressive order.
Consequently, the scale of measurement that quantifies the depressive syndrome can take any value between 20 and 80. According to the clinical experience provided from Calderon (1997), the scale can be interpreted as follows:
20-35 = Normal person
35-45 = Person with a certain level of anxiety, which can be seen through conducting the questionnaire.
46-65 = Average depression
66-80 = Severe depression.
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