Political Science Education and the Profession
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Using Reflection to Activate Data Literacy: Teaching Data Literacy in Undergraduate International Relations Courses

Nina Rathbun University of Southern California
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Iva Bozovic University of Southern California
Abstract
We evaluated the impact of experiential assignments using data on improving students’ abilities to avoid common misconceptions of data using a specific assessment tool we created. We randomly assigned students into pre- and some post- experiential data assignment test groups to gauge the impact of the different assignments on assisting students to overcome common data literacy problems. In each project, students were required to find and use data in their research to support their arguments on an assigned topic. In one project, students also reflected on the data used by both sides of an argument in the assigned topic. We found that the reflection requirement had a statistically significant effect on engaging students’ critical thinking skills for avoiding common misinterpretations of data. We believe that this finding demonstrates the large impact of reflection in building and engaging critical thinking skills necessary for data literacy in the modern age.
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