Data in the HS Classroom:When, Why, and How? Lynette F. Hoelter, Ph.D. Dir. Instructional Resources, ICPSR, UM August 18, 2012 American Sociological Assoc. Annual Meeting
Just the Facts, Ma’am! • What is data? • Why would I want to use data in the classroom? • When should I use data? • How can I use data? – This isn’t math class! – I don’t “do” data… – My students don’t “do” data… • Where can I find data?
What do we mean by “data”?• Definitions differ by context. For example: – Citing someone else’s written work to support your point – Analysis of newspaper articles, blogs, Twitter feeds, commercials, etc. looking for themes – The result of an in-depth interview or observation – Information from medical tests, experiments, and other scientific exercises• For this presentation, “data” refers to summary information presented numerically in graphs, charts, or tables and the underlying survey results.
Why Use Data?• Course content becomes applicable to students’ lives• Active learning makes content more memorable• Students learn how social scientists work (not just common sense)• Quantitative literacy skills are strengthened in a non-threatening context
Quantitative Literacy??• Skills learned & used within a context – Reading and interpreting tables or graphs and to calculating percentages and the like – Working within a scientific model (variables, hypotheses, etc.) – Understanding and critically evaluating numbers presented in everyday lives – Evaluating arguments based on data – Knowing what kinds of data might be useful in answering particular questions
Importance of QL• Availability of information requires ability to make sense of information coming from multiple sources• Use of evidence is critical in making decisions and evaluating arguments• Employers value these skills
When to Include Data• ALL the time!!!!! (Or at least whenever you feel like it…Seriously!)
How to Use Data(Especially for those who don’t “do” data)• Start class with a data-based news article• Have students interpret charts/graphs from popular media and critique news articles• Require empirical evidence to support claims in essays• Question banks and exercises allow students to work with surveys and the resulting data• Have students collect data – even in-class polls• Engage students by having them find maps, graphs, or other data that provide examples of course content
Where to Find Data/Exercises • Data archives – Public opinion – Topic specific – General • News blogs • Specific Websites (gov’t organizations, collections of resources)
Public Opinion Data• Roper Center for Public Opinion Research http:// www.ropercenter.uconn.edu• Gallup: http://www.gallup.com• NORC reports & data: www.norc.org/Research/DataFindings• Pew Social & Demographic Trends: http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/
Topic-specific Archives…(but not too specific)• Association of Religion Data Archives(www.thearda.com)(Pet survey http://www.thearda.com/crc/quiz/quiz12.asp)• Sociometrics (family, AIDS, maternal drug abuse, etc.)
News Blogs & Quick Facts• TeachingWithData.org – Data in the News• U.S. Census Newsroom, Census Data page• Other government sources; organizations – beware of credibility• Data360• USA Today Snapshots Use of terms “Soda,” “Pop,” and “Coke” from The Invisible Borders that Define American Culture, Data360
Collections of Resources• TeachingWithData.org• Social Science Data Analysis Network• ICPSR’s Online Learning Center• Social Explorer