Assignment 5: Interpreting Data

For this assignment you will write a short news story about the status of women in academic science. You can use any sources you like, however the recent paper Women in Academic Science: A Changing Landscape by Ceci. et al. contains a lot of data you might find relevant.

I will look for the following things in marking your story:

1) What question or questions are you using data to answer? “The status of women” could mean many different things. You must be clear about what you are writing about, and how this relates to the broader concept described by the words “the status of women in academic science.”

2) What data did you choose to get your answer? Please clearly present this data and explain what it means. Include tables or graphs if appropriate.

3) How was this data collected? How do you know it is accurate? How do you know it means what you think it means? I want to see that you have at least considered the questions on the “interview the data” slide.

4) What other hypotheses, if any, fit the data you have chosen? Why is your explanation more correct than the other possible explanations?

5) Is there other data that supports your conclusion? What about non-data sources of information? We have discussed triangulation many times in class, and I want to see evidence of it here. A strong argument combines different types of evidence from different sources.

6) Have you accounted for the possibility that what you see in the data has happened by chance? What are the sources of random variation here, and why is the pattern you see not likely to occur by chance?

7) Your story must be a maximum of 500 words and written for a general audience. That means you cannot assume that the reader is familiar with data concepts. If you need to use an idea that would not be familiar to someone who has never studied statistics or worked with data, you must explain what that idea means.

Due Dec 5 before class.

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