A Qualitative Assessment of Efforts to Integrate Data Analysis throughout the Sociology Curriculum: Feedback from Students, Faculty, and Alumni
Teaching Sociology Volume 38, Number 3, ISSN 0092-055X
Quantitative and computer literacy are increasingly recognized as core components of a liberal education in sociology. This study draws on student, faculty, and alumni questionnaires to identify the kinds of quantitative literacy skills that are perceived to be most critical for students enrolled in sociology courses. Respondents at Lehman College highlighted the need for proficiencies in a number of key areas, including (a) basic mathematical and statistical skills, such as measures of central tendency, ratios, and percentages; (b) the presentation and interpretation of quantitative data, including tables and charts; (c) the research process, such as developing hypotheses, sampling, and interpreting data; and (d) computer-based presentation and data analysis, including the use of software programs such as SPSS and Excel. Moreover, hands-on work in data analysis was highly valued by all respondents, particularly as a strategy for mastering these skills. This study suggests that effective education in quantitative literacy requires both (a) the removal of barriers to the incorporation of data analysis in sociology courses and (b) a well-sequenced sociology curriculum that pinpoints specific quantitative and computer literacy learning objectives at multiple course levels. (Contains 3 tables and 7 notes.)
Wilder, E.I. (2010). A Qualitative Assessment of Efforts to Integrate Data Analysis throughout the Sociology Curriculum: Feedback from Students, Faculty, and Alumni. Teaching Sociology, 38(3), 226-246.