Dazzling New Resource for the Discussion of Data

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One of the monikers that history allots the early 21st century may be “The Age of Data”—not big data or little data—not quantitative data or qualitative data, but data of all sizes and shapes. The vast proliferation of information, particularly that which is now digitally available, provides scholars, students, and the general public both exciting new opportunities for exploration and significant challenges.

Today Grinnell’s Data Analysis and Social Inquiry Lab (known as DASIL, which we pronounce DAZZLE) is inaugurating a resource to assist faculty, students, and anyone else fascinated with data in their exploration of the world. A blog will initiate discussions of ways to find data, appropriate methods for evaluating data quality, and ideas about the analysis and visualization of both quantitative and qualitative data. Resources pages will provide, primarily interactive, visualizations of a wide range of data and data types. Eventually these will be augmented with data sets and class exercises that faculty at Grinnell have prepared and invite others to use and modify as desired.

Among the topics to be addressed in future blogs are:

• Ways of finding data and assessing data quality,
• Analytic software and techniques,
• Innovative techniques for visualizing data,
• Ethical issues associated with data, and
• Teaching with data

While most of the blogs will be written by faculty, staff, and students from Grinnell College, we will consider occasional guest posts. Potential blog posts may be submitted to dasil@grinnell.edu for review. Comments on blogs are always encouraged, although obviously some bounds of civility must be retained! Inappropriate comments will not be accepted.


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