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MERLOT II


    

Peer Review


TeachingWithData

by SSDan Office
 

Ratings

Overall Rating:

5 stars
Content Quality: 5 stars
Effectiveness: 4.75 stars
Ease of Use: 4.75 stars
Reviewed: Mar 03, 2013 by Sociology Editorial Board
Overview: TeachingWithData is devoted to heightening awareness of the value of quantitative research in the social sciences. The site is in the form of a blog, which helps instructors familiarize students with the logic and application of data analysis as studies appear in the literature or in the news. Each post addresses a real study in which data have been employed and statistically interpreted. In all, the site well-illustrates how empirical data can advance the production of knowledge.
Learning Goals: The main learning goal is to help instructors promote quantitative literacy among students by providing highly relevant synopses of studies and various teaching resources. More concretely, the site should enhance students' appreciation and knowledge of working with empirical data and conducting statistical analysis.
Target Student Population: This site would be very useful for students who are in the early stages of studying quantitative research methods.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: Prerequisite knowledge varies with particular materials addressed. Ideally, students would have an appreciation for at least one of the social sciences and some familiarity with reading graphs, charts, and tables.
Type of Material: The site is comprised of descriptions of research studies and their findings, materials for lectures and assignments, tools for analysis, and data sources. Given that it is a blog, readers can add comments to advance discussion about relevant subject matter.
Recommended Uses: Class discussions, homework assignments, and individual exploration. In the classroom, instructors can use it to demonstrate the power of clear and concise statistical analysis and interpretation. For homework assignments, it can be employed as a resource for gathering evidence-based information about a variety of social issues.
Technical Requirements: This site can be navigated with any standard browser.

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: TeachingWithData provides a wide range of teaching materials for developing quantitative literacy. Many can be used with very little adaptation. Other materials can form the bases of instructor-generated assignments. Materials are generally of high quality.
Concerns: Posts are developed by various instructors, and therefore there is a certain unevenness in the quality and ease of use of materials.

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 4.75 stars
Strengths: One of the most important strengths of this site is that its exercises are data-driven and give students first-hand experience in working with data. In some cases, this involves interpreting data; in others, students are asked to create their own tables and charts.
Concerns: As mentioned, some materials are more effective than others.

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 4.75 stars
Strengths: TeachingWithData is a collection of blog posts and teaching resources that provide instructors a wide variety of alternatives to choose from. Posts are generally well-written and easy to understand. The data-driven quality of materials is its primary strength.
Concerns: The only concern is a minor one: the blog search engine did not seem to recall posts in any discernible order.

Other Issues and Comments: This is a very useful site for enhancing quantitative literacy. The posts are generally clear, concise, and easy to follow. The blog also allows for user comments and questions.