Investigating teaching practices in quantitative and computational Social Sciences: A case study
Keywords:Data literacy, Statistical Literacy, Computational Literacy, Social Sciences, Data Pedagogy
Data education is gaining traction across disciplines and degree levels in higher education. Teaching data skills in the Social Sciences in today's data-driven world is vital for preparing the next generation of data literate and critical social scientists. The ability to identify, assess, analyze, and communicate well and responsibly with data is key for scholars and professionals to navigate dynamic and expansive information ecosystems. This paradigm shift demands instructors to adapt their curricula and pedagogy to advance students’ computational and statistical knowledge. This paper presents some of the findings from a local report of a larger national project which explored pedagogical techniques and instructional support needs for teaching undergraduates with quantitative data in the Social Sciences. Results revealed that the core learning goal of instructors is to develop students' critical thinking skills with data, including the conceptual understanding of the research methods employed in the field; the ability to critically evaluate research methodologies, findings, and data sets; and prowess using quantitative and computational tools and technologies. A recurring theme across interviews was students’ fear of math and technology and challenges these fears pose to data-related instruction. Instructors value participation in a community of practice and are eager for more institutional support to advance their computational skills. Based on these findings, we suggest avenues for academic libraries to further develop services, activities, and partnerships to aid data instruction efforts in the Social Sciences.
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Copyright (c) 2022 Rebecca Greer, Renata Curty
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